Lewis D. Zinkin, M.D.
“I wanted to make a difference in people's lives. In medicine you know very soon if you’ve made a difference—particularly in surgery.” —Lewis D. Zinkin, M.D.
Serious dedication to his profession as a colorectal surgeon—and to his faith as an Orthodox Jew—doesn’t prevent Lewis D. Zinkin, M.D., from cracking the occasional joke. Dr. Zinkin, 67, grew up in the tri-state area and studied at Yeshiva University before attending medical school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Next came an internship and surgical residency at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in New York and a colon-and-rectal-surgery fellow- ship at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Dr. Zinkin has been practicing at Saint Peter’s University Hospital for 34 years. He and his wife, Shelly, Highland Park residents, have five grown children and 17 grandchildren.
DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE A DOCTOR?
Yes, from childhood—but I also wanted to be a cowboy. And I may still go that route! Seriously, when I was 12 my mother remarried, and my stepfather was a general practitioner in Lakewood. I saw what it meant to be a doctor and it appealed to me.
I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. You can do that as a teacher, but often you don’t know what impact you’ve had until years later. In medicine you know very soon if you’ve made a difference—particularly in surgery. There are immediate and tangible results.
DOES YOUR RELIGION INFLUENCE YOUR WORK?
It gives me a deep, serious respect for human life. Medicine requires not just technical skills, but also a commitment to the value of life and respect for one’s fellow human beings.
HAVE YOU BEEN ACTIVE IN THE TEMPLE?
Yes. I was president of a local synagogue, Congregation Ohr Torah, and there helped build a new synagogue that has become a showcase for other houses of worship. People visit to learn how architecture can foster good acoustics.
WHAT FILLS YOUR FREE TIME?
I love traveling. My wife and I recently took two of our grandchildren, in honor of their bar and bat mitvahs, on a trip to London, Paris and Israel. —D.L.