Sunday, February 10, 2013

In Tiberias, Who Is a Jew and Who Is Not?

The original caption in the American Colony collection read,
"A little Jewish boy patient in the Scots Mission Hospital, Tiberias."
BBC used the photo in a review of a hotel located in the former
 hospital building with the caption, "The hospital treated patients from
as far away as Damascus." No mention was made of the boy's faith.
According to the British Broadcasting Corp., this little boy is one of many patients who came to the Scottish Mission Hospital in Tiberias from "as far away as Damascus." 

Readers of Israel Daily Picture, however, may recognize the picture of a "little Jewish boy patient" from an earlier posting detailing with the massacre of 19 Jews in Tiberias on October 2, 1938 during the "Arab Revolt."  We postulated that the boy was a survivor of the massacre. Most of the victims were women and children.

Arab patient? The headscarf is of a style
typically worn by religious Jewish women
Especially after the BBC's deceptive caption, we have been reviewing other pictures from the Scots Mission Hospital. The hospital, part of the Scottish missionary efforts in Palestine, served Muslims, Christians and Jews. 

Looking and comparing headscarves, we believe that some of the pictures may be of Jewish women patients, especially these pictures captioned in the Library of Congress collection as "Arab patient with ailing daughter."  Other possible Jewish patients can be viewed here and here.

View below pictures of Muslim women patients in their traditional head garb.
Arab patient and her headscarf

Coming Attraction: Why Is this "Jew with a Torah" Scroll Not Jewish?

Future feature: In researching the Scots Hospital in Tiberias,
we discovered an archive of Galilee pictures in a most unusual
library. The caption reads "Jew with Torah," but our research
shows that he was not Jewish. Who was he?

Arab girl patients and their scarves

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Click on captions to view the original pictures.


  1. The "Jew" with a Torah Scroll is in fact a Samaritan Cohen from Mt. Gerizim, abouv Shchem (Nablus).
    They have the 5 books of Moses (Torah) in similar casings as do Sephardi Jews, and therefore the confusion.
    Yoni Shapira

  2. Looks like the lady with the child is being photographed against her will somewhat. Judging by the fact that she is holding a sign with the name of mission benefactors on it, perhaps these photographs were used for publicity or other non-medical purposes back in the UK.