From doctoring patients to doctoring photos

Doctor Jacob Nusbacher is a very accomplished pianist and photographer.

(photo credit: GLORIA DEUTSCH)
Doctors are, by and large, not creative or artistic people. With feet firmly on the ground, they are usually concerned with more practical preoccupations. Jacob Nusbacher, known to his friends as Jack, is an exception. A retired hematologist, he is also a photographer and an exhibition of his work was held recently in Ra’anana, where he has lived since 1989.
“Some of my pictures are straightforward and depict scenes from nature in the local park, which I visit often,” he says. “But in this digital age you can do certain things with the computer to get a more abstract effect.”
The feedback from friends was very positive and he has even sold a few of his creations, which he often prints on canvas.
“It’s a hobby, but maybe I will be able to turn it into a business.”
His artistry is not confined to photography. As his many friends and acquaintances know, he is also a very accomplished pianist.
When he and his late wife, Miriam, made aliya from Toronto in 1989, he already had a job arranged, as director of the blood bank at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba. “But I came before the rest of the family – I’d heard stories about promised jobs that didn’t materialize and wanted to be sure.”
Born in New York in 1938 to an Orthodox family, Nusbacher studied medicine, qualifying in 1964. During vacations, he worked as a waiter in the Catskills to help finance his studies and it was there he met his future wife, who was a guest.
“We started dating, went out for a while and got married in 1961.”
Their son Arieh was born soon after and later they had triplets – three girls – all living today in Israel. Nusbacher was appointed professor of medicine, first in Rochester, later in Pittsburgh and finally in Toronto where the family lived until making aliya. He served as national director of the Canadian Red Cross blood transfusion service for 20 years.
The girls all married in Israel. Arieh became a world-famous military historian appearing on television first in Canada, later in England where he lectured at Sandhurst. Several years ago he underwent gender reassignment, and today teaches and consults as Lynette Nusbacher.
Jacob and Miriam were happily married for 52 years when she was stricken with pancreatic cancer.
“We were devastated,” he recalls. “I knew the illness well but I was sure we would beat it. The last thing that goes is hope.” Miriam died five years ago.
“We once discussed what would happen if one of us died,” he says. “She told me I should get married again and shouldn’t be alone.”
Three years ago he met Hanna, a widow, and today they are married.
“I’ve been blessed to have had two wonderful women in my life,” says Nusbacher.