Throughout the ages, plagues and pandemics have changed the course of history for countless communities. Historically, the Jewish community has had their own responses to pestilence and disease such as the use of amulets to combat infectious diseases or performing “Black Weddings” during the 1918 influenza pandemic, a ceremony in which two orphans are married in a cemetery. Dr. Jeremy Brown investigates the relation between Judaism and infectious diseases in his new work, The Eleventh Plague: Jews and Pandemics from the Bible to COVID-19, in which he chronicles rabbinic responses to smallpox and cholera, persecutions of Jewish communities during the fourteenth century’s bubonic plague, and prejudices faced by Jewish immigrants to the U.S. over fears that they carried diseases.
Dr. Jeremy Brown will be discussing his book at the Library of Congress on Wednesday March 29 from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Whittall Pavilion in the Jefferson Building. During his lecture, Dr. Brown will examine how plagues and pandemics have shaped the history of the Jewish people, in a relationship that remains highly relevant in an age of COVID-19. This event is sponsored by the Hebraic Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division and the Science, Technology and Business Division. The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. A small collection of relevant ephemera from the African and Middle Eastern Division and the Science, Technology and Business Division will be on display.
Currently, Dr. Brown is an emergency physician and Director of the Office of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Before joining the NIH, he was the Research Director in the Department of Emergency Medicine at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He grew up in London, studied medicine at University College, London and trained as an emergency physician at Boston Medical Center.
Special Event: Jews and Pandemics from the Bible to COVID-19
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Place: Whittall Pavilion, Ground Floor, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress
This program will be recorded but will not be streamed live. For those unable to attend this program in person, the recording will be posted on the Library of Congress Event Videos collection page and in the Library’s YouTube channel playlist “Topics in Science” in the coming months.
For more information about this program, contact Sharon S. Horowitz at [email protected] or Ashley Cuffia at [email protected] . Request ADA accommodations at least five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or [email protected]
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