Jewish Contributions to Society

Levi Strauss
Levi Strauss. UNESCO/Michel Ravassard/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Considering that the Jewish people constitute a mere one-half of one percent of the world's population, Jewish contributions to religion, science, literature, music, medicine, finance, philosophy, entertainment etc., is staggering.

Jewish Contributions

In the field of medicine alone, Jewish contributions are staggering and continue to be so. It was a Jew who created the first polio vaccine, who discovered insulin, who discovered that aspirin dealt with pain, who discovered chloral hydrate for convulsions, who discovered streptomycin, who discovered the origin and spread of infectious diseases, who invented the test for diagnosis of syphilis, who identified the first cancer virus, who discovered the cure for pellagra and added to the knowledge about yellow fever, typhoid, typhus, measles, diphtheria and influenza.

Today, Israel, a nation only sixty years old, has emerged at the forefront of stem-cell research, which will, in the near future, give humanity unprecedented medical treatment for degenerative diseases.

There is a passage in the Talmud that says:

“We find in the case of Cain, who killed his brother, that it is written: The bloods of thy brother cry unto me: not the blood of thy brother, but the bloods of thy brother is said, that is, his blood and the blood of his potential descendants.” (Sanhedrin 37a, 37-38.)

Over the past 2,000 years, in particular, millions of Jews have been killed in Inquisitions, Pogroms, and more recently, the horror of the Holocaust. One wonders how much more humanity could have gained from the descendants of those murdered and their potential contributions to mankind.

Below is a short list of some of the most important contributions Jewish individuals have made to society.

Jewish Contributions to Society

Albert EinsteinPhysicist
Jonas SalkCreated first Polio Vaccine.
Albert SabinDeveloped the oral vaccine for Polio.
GalileoDiscovered the speed of light
Selman WaksmanDiscovered Streptomycin. Coined the word 'antibiotic'.
Gabriel LipmannDiscovered color photography.
Baruch BlumbergDiscovered origin and spread of infectious diseases.
G. EdelmanDiscovered the chemical structure of antibodies.
Briton EpsteinIdentified first cancer virus.
Maria MeyerStructure of atomic nuclei.
Julius MayerDiscovered law of thermodynamics.
Sigmund FreudFather of Psychotherapy.
Christopher Columbus (Marano)Discovered the Americas.
Benjamin DisraeliPrime Minister of Great Britain 1804-1881
Isaac SingerInvented the sewing machine.
Levi StraussLargest manufacturer of Denim Jeans.
Joseph PulitzerEstablished 'Pulitzer Prize' for achievements in journalism, literature, music & art.