Home Exclusive Interviews Jewish Personality of the Week: Ellen Marmur, a Dermatologist and Mother of...

Jewish Personality of the Week: Ellen Marmur, a Dermatologist and Mother of 4 Who’s Guided by Torah


What do you get when you mix a Jesuit Catholic man who nearly became a priest with an Orthodox Jewish woman from upstate? One of the top dermatologists in the world, Torah enthusiast, and a generally inspiring Jewish woman.

“I grew up in a small, blue-collar town in Pennsylvania. Both my parents were teachers at Penn State. My dad was raised as a Jesuit Catholic (he almost became a priest), and my mother was raised as an Orthodox Jew in Utica. They broke all the rules and got married… I was raised Reconstructionist, by a wonderful rabbi who played the guitar.”

Sounds pretty unconventional, but then again, so is this mom of four’s medical practice on the Upper East Side. Dr. Marmur, is a board-certified dermatologist with fellowship training in procedures such as Mohs Micrographic Surgery for skin cancers, as well as cosmetic surgery including laser treatments and injectables. She boasts nine years in full-time academia as the first Vice Chair of Surgical & Cosmetic Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, something we’re pretty sure every Jewish mother would be proud of, but her work doesn’t just stop at making people healthier and more beautiful— she’s an active philanthropist and voice for reminding people that healthier lifestyles can still include outdoor sports and activities so long as we’re mindful of sun exposure.

““I’m most proud of a philanthropy I started called Skin Cancer, Take a Hike. So many of my patients fear the sun; I want to re-energize people to have a wonderful athletic lifestyle.

Last summer, I lead a team of eleven people up Mt. Kilimanjaro, where UV is stronger and more damaging. On one hand, this was paradoxical since we were hiking into the sun, even though we wanted to protect against cancer. But on the other hand, we wore sunscreen and nobody got burnt. The hike raised both awareness and $150,000 for skin-care prevention. What’s more, it paved the way for ten hikes this summer all over the world. All the money that’s raised goes to community shade structures. The first one is going up in early May at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.”

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Dr. Marmur’s inspiration to do good doesn’t fall far from her spiritual upbringing, because she cites Torah and her Judaism as the primary reason for her.

“I took a semester off to live in Jerusalem, where I thought about being a rabbi,” but ended up applying her thirst for spirituality to her career and family. “For me, the Jewish community is special for raising my children— especially when it comes to Jewish ideas about the standards of justice. Learning from the Torah how to behave as a human being gives you touch points throughout your life to become a better person.”

Part of her practice is physical healing— she’s a procedural dermatologist known for working with skin cancer patients and reconstructive surgery, but she is also one of the leaders in aesthetic dermatology, lending her naturally-artistic eye to patients searching for beauty, youth, and confidence.

“There’s an intimate relationship between how you look and how you feel about your health. People are afraid of surgery or cosmetic procedure,” she tells us, which is exactly why she has focused some of her energy more recently on innovative products like Restylane Silk. “Restylane Silk is FDA-approved, very gentle, and natural looking and is one of the easiest ways to do one little procedure without anyone knowing. It restores the way your lips used to look.”

The emphasis on keeping patients looking like themselves, and her kind approach is probably with Dr. Marmur has a cult following and arguably one of the most welcoming medical offices in all of New York.

“In the future, I want to continue my practice, inspire people to use sun protection, and donate trees for patients through Hadassah.”

We’re betting she’ll do all that and then some.

You can see more info on Dr. Marmur here.



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