Letters to the editor November 4

Letters to the editor November 4

GINA was a landmark law
I applaud everyone connected to the 1 in 5 campaign to encourage screening for Jewish genetic diseases and to educate everyone about the value of genetic testing. Everyone can now avail themselves of the scientific breakthroughs brought about by the sequencing of the human genome.
The four articles in The Jewish Chronicle (“1 in 5: Jews & Genetic Screening,” Sept. 16-Oct. 21) have explained how important testing is to individuals, couples, and the community at large.
But nowhere in the articles is the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act mentioned. Signed by President Bush in the spring of 2008, that bill was the culmination of a more than decade-long effort spearheaded by Hadassah in coalition with hundreds of disease groups and many NGO’s. GINA outlawed discrimination in health insurance and employment as a result of genetic testing
This landmark legislation became necessary to everyone and specifically the Jewish community after the BRAC1 and BRAC2 gene mutations were discovered by Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem in collaboration with NIH in the United States.
The potential for discrimination of Jewish women for their perceived heightened susceptibility to breast cancer and the elevation of old blood libels against Jews was evident. It became obvious that political activity and organization were the means to combat these negative non-medical sequelae to the scientific discoveries.
Now, through the 1 in 5 campaign and similar efforts in other communities, we can solve the far less intractable problem of funding testing and screening.

Judy Palkovitz
Squirrel Hill

(The author is a past national officer of Hadassah and a current member of the Chronicle Board of Trustees.)
Tsipy was AJL
It was with shock and disbelief that I heard that Tsipy Gur would no longer be at AJL.
To me, Tsipy was AJL.  She is the innovator of so many programs that put Pittsburgh on the Jewish educational map, from her trips that united teachers, survivors, and teens traveling to Poland and Israel, to her Sherut Leumi program, to her deep commitment to teacher training.
Tsipy is passionate about Jewish education and constantly looking for ways to invigorate and nurture its growth in every school in our community.  Her heart and soul devotion and unflagging enthusiasm, year after year, is unique and inspiring.
I count myself as fortunate to have benefitted from her dedication and leadership.  Her departure from AJL is a serious loss for the entire community.

Leah-Perl Shollar
Squirrel Hill