100 years of trailblazing women

Women have played a critical role in building and shaping Mount Sinai Hospital since day one. Its founding on Yorkville Avenue was the result of the Ezras Noshem (“Ladies Aid” in Yiddish), led by Mrs. Cohn, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Spiegel and Mrs. Adler, who went door to door asking for donations for almost a decade. Thanks to the efforts of these women, and of Dorothy Dworkin in the 1920s to the 1940s, Rose Torno in the 1950s to the 1970s, and Sinai Health Foundation’s current Board Co-Chair, Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, trailblazing women have always been at the heart of the Mount Sinai community’s generosity.

A portrait of Dorothy Dworkin sitting, surrounded by ladies of the auxiliary (Ezras Noshem) in the 1920s.

“They would collect nickels, a quarter. If they got a dollar, that was a big donation. Five dollars, that was really something. Through these small donations, they managed to raise $12,000.”

Lillian Gollom, member of the Sinais, in an interview obtained by the Ontario Jewish Archives, on the fundraising efforts of the Ezras Noshem

The indomitable Dorothy Dworkin

Dorothy Dworkin, a certified nurse and midwife, was a driving force in Mount Sinai’s early decades. In addition to assisting as needed with clinical care, she managed the hospital’s finances and served on the Board of Directors. She also started an early version of the auxiliary and led the fundraising efforts for several hospital expansions, including the move to University Avenue.

In 1968, Dorothy Dworkin, a prime mover behind the first Mount Sinai Hospital on Yorkville Ave., swings the ceremonial hammer as demolition begins on University Ave to make way for the third Mount Sinai Hospital at 600 University Ave.
Portrait of Rose Torno, Inaugural President of the Mount Sinai Hospital Auxiliary 1953-1958.

Rose Torno and the women’s auxiliary

One of the University of Alberta’s first female law graduates, Rose Torno was named as the first president of the Mount Sinai Hospital Auxiliary in 1953. In its initial membership drive it raised $82,000 in support of the New Mount Sinai Hospital. It was the beginning of more than 60 years of extraordinary accomplishments for the auxiliary.