Accusations of anti-Semitism in Beth David Hospital, Lexington avenue and 113 street, were vigorously denied by Samuel G. Ascher, newly-appointed hospital supervisor, and Arthur I. Levine, president of the board of trustees. The charge had been brought by employees of the hospital who were recently dismissed.
According to the discharged employees, the hospital had systematically “dismissed all Jewish floor nurses, replacing them with Gentiles.” It also dismissed without notice student nurses at the hospital training school, they asserted, although many of the girls, who are practically all Jewish, had no homes in New York. Doctors, social service workers and pharmacists were forced to resign when they objected, the employees declared. The accusation was made in the form of a letter to friends of the hospital.
“It is ridiculous to accuse the hospital of anti-Semitism, especially since it is operated under orthodox conditions, with a rabbi in charge of the dietary department,” declared Ascher in an interview. He denied categorically all accusations, and explained that the new supervisor of nurses was non-Jewish because there are no Jewesses competent for the position at the present time. All Jewish hospitals have non-Jewish supervisors, he said.
Ascher explained that the nurses’ school was discontinued because it had not been officially accredited, although the hospital receives a Class A rating from the American College of Surgeons and the American Medical Association. Those students who had almost completed their courses were allowed to remain, he declared.
At the present time the hospital cares for relatively few Jewish patients, the percentage being approximately fifteen per cent. The rest are mainly Spaniards and Puerto Ricans. Of the thirty-six nurses in the hospital, fourteen are Jewish. Ascher refused to permit the interviewer to speak to any of the nurses or employees in the hospital.
BLAMES FORMER EMPLOYERS
Arthur I. Levine, president of the board of trustees, denied all the board of trustees, denied all the charges, declaring that it was simply a case of “disgruntled employees.” He said that some employees had been discharged because they were incompetent, and asserted, “the charge of anti-Semitism not only has not a single grain of truth in it, but also has not the slightest foundation.”
Miss Manya Belikoff, a social service worker at the hospital for the past ten years, who was discharged, asserted it was her conviction that anti-Semitism was the real reason for the dismissal, Other employees of the hospital scoffed at the sincerity of keeping dietary laws, and said, “The Gentile nurses don’t know what it’s all about. How can they tell the difference between the milk and meat regulations?”
Contradicting Levine’s statement to the effect that the employees had been dismissed because of incompetence, Miss Belikoff maintained that the present authorities were not in position to decide, since they had taken office only last January.