In the 1950s, Houston’s Jewish community sought to create a medical facility that had a specific Jewish feel, but found that they did not have a large enough population to support the endeavor. When, in 1958, Dr. Bernard Farfel learned that the federal government was offering matching funds for the creation of medical research facilities, it was the perfect opportunity for the Jews of Houston to contribute to the city’s famed medical community.
The Jewish community raised over $450,000, which they donated to Baylor College of Medicine. The building for the Jewish Institute for Medical Research was designed with a beautiful Star of David on the exterior and a mezuzah on the doorpost. Since its creation, the Institute has not only drawn outstanding medical professionals to the area, its doctors have been involved in key research that has benefited all humanity.
While the Jewish Institute for Medical Research was created as a communal effort, one member of the local Jewish community had already become well-known for his philanthropic support of Houston’s medical institutions. Ben Taub (1889–1982), the son of Jewish immigrants from Hungary, was born and raised in Houston. A successful businessman and real estate developer, he dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort serving on the boards of important city organizations and particularly on medical facilities. He donated land and money to so many worthwhile city institutions that when the city opened a new charity hospital in 1963, they named it the Ben Taub General Hospital in his honor. In 1986, Baylor College of Medicine opened the Ben Taub Research Center.
This Treat was written in honor of the founding of the city of Houston on August 30, 1836.
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