Proactive Genetic Screening: A Collective Responsibility

March 13, 2015
JScreen

by Kara Wexler

 

I’ll let all of you in on a little secret: I didn’t always make it through Saturday morning services in its entirety. When my father used to bring me to synagogue every week growing up, I somehow always managed to escape the service and play catch in the back room of the building. Sitting in formal services didn’t resonate with me at such a young age, but yet when I spent time with my rabbi’s children after synagogue, I grew to appreciate the wisdom the Rabbis could offer through a more informal setting.

A Rabbi has a unique opportunity to be a formative influence on a child, or adult’s, life. Rabbis are there for you when you first learn prayers, infuse meaning into your Bar or Bat Mitzvah, and overcome life-changing moments. My Rabbis have elevated my appreciation for my Jewish background with the gift of important Jewish literature (which accompanied my college Birthright trip), and have helped ease my pain when mourning the loss of my dear cousin. Whether the moments are big or small, rabbinical leadership has the power to help guide your life and bring additional purpose into your actions.

While Rabbis focus on strengthening the existing Jewish community, it’s never too early to begin planning a healthy generation to come. With such profound influential power, it is incredibly important that religious leadership speak with couples about genetic screening and educate couples on their ability to protect the health of their future families. Only 24% of Jewish men and women have been tested to find out if their future children are at risk for genetic conditions, and we need the help of rabbinical leadership to spread our mission within the community.

Each time a couple becomes pregnant, there is a 25% risk of having an affected child if both parents are carriers. Through proactive screening and genetic counseling, we can give expecting parents the peace of mind a healthy child brings.

L’dor vador, from generation to generation, the Jewish population has endured countless obstacles for centuries, and continues to thrive in modern day. We are here to help ensure a healthy next chapter for the Jewish community. Our cutting-edge technology involves at-home access, accompanied by remote patient education and genetic counseling services. We’ve made it easily accessible, and now all we need is your help in spreading our mission to your community.

 

JScreen

JScreen is a non-profit, community-based public health initiative dedicated to preventing Jewish genetic diseases. Headquartered in Atlanta at Emory University School of Medicine, the JScreen initiative is a collaboration among clinical geneticists, socially minded businesses, and nonprofits to provide everyday people with a ready access point to cutting-edge genetic testing technology, patient education, and genetic counseling services.