Monsey Memories: Dr. Sidney Levine, Monsey’s Physician for 40 Years
For more than four decades—from 1959, when Monsey was a little hamlet and its Jewish community tiny, until his passing in 2003—Dr. Sidney Levine was perhaps its most popular pediatrician. Today, we take a look at his life and his career through the eyes of those who remember him.
Sidney was born in 1930 in another Jewish metropolis… Boro Park, and went to Yeshiva Etz Chaim, also known as Hebrew Institute of Boro Park. He enlisted in the army and did his medical degree through the army. He received his bachelor’s degree from Washington University and his medical degree from New York College of Medicine. He met his wife, the former Shirly Babad, in St. Louis, and they were married in 1951. Following their marriage, Dr. Levine was stationed at West Point Military Academy.
“In 1959, he was driving down the highway, and the first Jewish community he came upon was Monsey, and they were looking for a doctor,” relates his daughter, Batya Jacob, “and that’s where he would remain for the next four decades.
“He really lived with the teaching of v’rapo yerape, that a physician has the sacred calling to do his part to heal… but that everything is from Hashem,” Batya observes. He truly believed that everything he did and had came from Hashem. This was the biggest impact that he had on our entire family.”
In an interview with the Journal News following the passing of Dr. Levine, Shirley recalled: ‘He was an old-fashioned doctor who made house calls. He had hundreds of patients and traveled from Tomkins Cove to Orangeburg to see them.”
Monsey residents, today grandmothers, recall visiting the busy office where Mrs. Levine was the nurse. “She ran the office with an iron fist,” they remember. But she really kept the place going, enabling Dr. Levine to do his work.”
Her sacrifices went far beyond running the office.
Whether it was enabling him to be there for the community or giving her husband time to learn with his numerous chavrusos—it was truly a sacrifice. Mrs. Jacob explains just what kind of sacrifice this was for the family. “We’d joke that there were two sedorim because we could never get through a Seder without a patient interrupting. When we opened the door for sh’foch chamoscho, there was usually a patient standing there. Our father was the ba’al tokeiah in our Shul, Bnei Yeshurun, for decades but would always be called from the bimah—because the patient came first. This was our life,” she remembers.
He learned with Rabbi Sheya Schiff of Mesifta Beis Shraga, finished Shas four times, and maintained relationships with the Viznitzer Rebbe, Skverer Rebbe, and other Gedolim, all of whom has respect for this man who gave so much of himself to the community.
“He was the doctor that other doctors took their kids to,” Audrey Flam told the Journal News. He was the doctor who, when he gave an opinion, you didn’t need a second opinion. It wasn’t just his job; it really was his vocation.”