The Jewish Medical Students of Padua

A current exhibition at the Jewish Heritage Museum of Padua tells the story of that city’s famed medical school, one of the very first to open its doors to Jews. In her review, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett writes:

Among the highlights of the exhibition is a rare Yiddish manuscript about human anatomy. . . . The manuscript is a translation of De Humani Corporis Fabrica (“On the Fabric of the Human Body”), an anatomy treatise for medical students written by Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564). Yiddish manuscripts before the year 1600 are rare, and this anatomical treatise in Yiddish is among the rarest of all.

The University of Padua was founded exactly 800 years ago, in 1222. Independent of papal control, it admitted students who were not Catholic and was exceptional in admitting Jewish students. Its highly regarded medical school opened in 1250, and Jewish graduates were among the most distinguished physicians of their day.

Vesalius was a professor of anatomy at the University of Padua and is considered the founder of modern anatomical science. His famous anatomy treatise, written in Latin, provided anatomical terms in several languages, including Hebrew. Jews played an important role in translating medical works and would certainly have found these translations useful. Vesalius was apparently assisted in preparing the Hebrew translations by a Jewish physician who was also a friend of his.

Read more at Forward

More about: Italian Jewry, Medicine, Yiddish

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security