Where to go for what if you're Jewish and Female

To Your Health

How common is hereditary breast cancer? Are Ashkenazic women more likely to inherit alterations of the BRCA genes than women of other ethnic groups? Can a woman’s genetic information be used by insurance companies or employers to discriminate against her? These are among the questions discussed in “Understanding the Genetics of Breast Cancer for Jewish Women,” a pamphlet that summarizes material presented at the landmark spring 1996 conference hosted by the American Jewish Congress and co-sponsored by seven national Jewish women’s organizations who are also distributing copies. Obtain a copy for $2 from Lois Waldman, AJC, 15 E. 84 St., New York, NY 10028.

The Israel Association for the Advancement of Women’s Health makes the point that improving women’s health will improve everyone’s health, since women are the majority of health care consumers and providers and are the intermediaries between their families and the health care system. This public nonprofit organization founded in 1994 aims to improve the health of women in Israel by disseminating information, educating for the prevention of illness and promotion of health, and working in the community with women of various ethnic groups and ages who are at risk. Amy Avgar, Executive Director, IAAWH, P.O. Box 46155, Jerusalem 91460, Israel, (972-2)7614811; fax (972-2)5611159; e-mail iaahwh@netvision.net.il

Understanding the Genetics of Breast Cancer for Jewish Women is the subject of a major study directed by Dr. Mary Claire King, the renowned geneticist who helped identify and isolate the breast cancer genes. In conjunction with seven New York-area hospitals. King will study the genetics of breast cancer among Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish women, seeking to discover precisely what the risk is for Jewish women with these mutations, and whether and in what way environmental and lifestyle factors modify that risk. Participating women will have the option of receiving genetic counseling and obtaining the results of their genetic test or of remaining anonymous. If you are a Jewish woman with breast cancer diagnosed in 1994 or later and you wish to participate and have not been contacted by one of the cooperating hospitals, call Judith Hull, (914)395-2239.

One in Nine: Women for Women with Cancer was established in 1994 in Tel Aviv to unite women in Israel who suffer from breast cancer. The organization provides them with information and support at all stages of the illness through a telephone network, resource library, a booklet of “questions to ask your physician” plus support groups and referrals. One in Nine: Women for Women with Cancer, 19 Shenkin St., Tel Aviv, Israel 65321; tel/fax (972-3)5255232.

For an Online Calendar for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month—which is October—send information about your local program or find out about an activity you can participate in. Contact: Jessica Fiorelli, NABCO, 9 E. 37th St., 10th fl, New York, NY 10016; (800)719-9154; fax (212)689-1213; web site htp:I/www.nabco.org; e-mail NABCOinfo@aol.com

Demi Mondaine: A Magazine for the Immuno compromised Woman will debut in July and be published beginning in January as an interdisciplinary quarterly focusing on the education and empowerment of women with HIV disease, lupus, organ transplants, chemotherapy and others. Articles on clinical topics— such as vaginitis, protease inhibitors, and potential risks of AZT therapy on maternal fetal transmission—will be supplemented with conference reports, profiles of women, book reviews, articles on lifestyle issues and political action information. Available free in clinics and at community organizations that care for women or by subscription from International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care, 225 W. Washington St., #2200, Chicago, IL 60606; fax (312)419-7079; e-mail demi@iapac.org

Gilda’s Club is a nonprofit organization named for the late comedienne Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1988. A supplement to regular medical care, it offers support and networking groups, lectures, workshops, relaxation, stress reduction, pot-luck suppers and social events free of charge to individuals with cancer, their families and friends. The “flagship clubhouse,” opened in 1995, includes a training center to replicate the club in other locations. Clubs already exist in Hollywood, FL, Metro Detroit, London, Davenport, lA, Chicago, Seattle, Ashtabula, OH, Nashville, TN, Greater Toronto, South Burlington, VT, Grand Rapids, MI, Utica, NY and Portland ME. Gilda’s Club, 195 W. Houston St., New York, NY 10014; (212)647-9700.

Menopause Handbook describes the changes that can take place in this normal life transition, and suggests ways of dealing with them in 50 pages of information, support and encouragement. Newly revised from the independent nonprofit publisher on health and sexuality. They also publish handbooks on birth control, sexual assault and sexually transmitted diseases—in English and French editions. Single copies are $4. Bulk copies are sold to organizations at cost. Montreal Health Press, Inc., P.O. Box 1000, Station Place du Pare, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2W 2N1; (514)282-1171; fax (514)282-0262; e-mail mhpmontreal@msn. com; http;//www.worldsfinest.com/mhp

The Skinny on Dieting provides common sense facts about the healthy approach to long-term weight loss and “Paunch Lines: Weight Loss Claims Are No Joke for Dieters” offers tips to identify potential diet product scams. Both publications are free from The Federal Trade Commission, Public Reference, 6th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20580; (202)326-2222; http./www.ftc.gov

Domestic Violence

Peace in the Home? The Response of Rabbis to Wife Abuse Within American Jewish Congregations is a study by Marc Steven Cwik in two special issues of the Journal of Psychology and Judaism (volumes 20, #4, Winter 1996; and 21 #1, Spring 1997). Journal of Psychology and Judaism, Human Sciences Press, 233 Spring St., New York, NY 10013-1578; (212)620-8468; fax (212)807-1047.

Broken Vows: Religious Perspectives on Domestic Violence is a two part documentary that tells the story of several women (one of them Jewish) who have suffered spousal abuse. Accompanying workshop materials suggest how synagogues and churches can address the issue and support victims. Available for a free preview, rental or purchase from The Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence, 1914 N. 34th St., #105, Seattle, WA 98103- 9058; (206)634-1903; fax (206)634-0115.


Do you have something in common with Madeline Albright? If you recently discovered your Jewish roots and would like to meet others like yourself, call the Hidden Child Foundation, ADL, 823 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017; (212)885-7900; fax (212)867-0779.

Legacy: The Yad Vashem Journal of Holocaust Education premiered with its first English-language issue, Fall 1996, featuring a focus on diaries from the Holocaust. Submissions are invited from the readership, who will likely include history teachers, school principals, educators, youth group leaders and others involved in teaching about the Holocaust. Subscriptions for the journal, which will appear three times a year are $35. Legacy, Yad Vashem. P.O.B. 3477, 91034 Jerusalem, Israel; (972-2) 6751637; fax (972-2) 6433511.

Education Headlines is a newsletter for teachers covering topics such as technology, Holocaust education, diversity awareness. It lists video and print resources. ADL Materials Library, Dept. NLl, 22-D Hollywood Ave., Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423; (800)343-5540; fax 201-652-1973; e-mail tmcndy@aol.com

Role Models/ Reel Models

Brave Little Girls is an exhibit that offers young readers a view of the original illustrations from a collection of 58 books starring girls— such as Anne of Green Gables, Pippi Long stocking and Mirette (on the high wire)—who are adventurous, bold, daring and funny. Curated by Krystyna Wasserman for the National Museum of Women in the Arts, it will be on view September 9 through November 30 at the new public library in San Francisco, and December 15 through March 31,1998 at the public library in Denver.

Seniors: Write about having grappled with and transcended a major life change. Tell about your renewal, healing or recovery through a crisis, such as a setback in finances or career, a crisis in health, the breakdown of a friendship or marriage or the death of a loved one. Or write about a how a a larger crisis such as the closing of a local factory, the Great Depression, or war has influenced you. Sponsored by the nonprofit Leibowitz Foundation, the National Legacies Contest offers cash prizes totaling $15,000 and possible publication. If you are age 60 and over, submit your story—only one—not to exceed 1,500 words, typed if possible, by December 31, 1997, to National Legacies Contest, 163 Amsterdam Ave., Box 107, New York, NY 10023; (800)561-9024.

Women Make Movies, distributor of women’s films and videotapes such as Judith Helfand’s “A Healthy Baby Girl” [see LILITH Winter 1996], is marking its 25th anniversary. Their catalogue is $5 from Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, 5th fl. New York, NY 10013: (212)925-0606.


A fellowship in American Jewish Women’s History for the 1998-99 school year —at the Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History at Temple University in Philadelphia—is being offered in cooperation with the American Jewish Committee. If you are a graduate student in this field, you can apply for the fellowship, which awards a stipend of$18,000.Submit a letter of application, a detailed synopsis of your dissertation, curriculum vitae, and letters of support from dissertation adviser and a colleague to Dr. Murray Friedman, 117 S. 17th St., #1010, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

Feminist Issues and Gender Problems in Israel is the theme of a special 2- part volume of Israel Social Science Research: A Multidisciplinary Journal in the Social Sciences. Guest-edited by Sylvie Fogiel-Bijaoui, Dalila Amir, Erela Shadmi, and Rachel Giora, #1, Spring, includes articles on wife abuse as a method of social control; “mothers” peace movements in contemporary Israel: suicide and murder employed by heroines in literature as indicators of transitional stages toward women’s autonomy; and “gendering in the Israeli Defense Forces.” #2, Fall, will include pieces on police handling of abused women; immigrant absorption policies toward Ethiopian women; the politics of abortion and reproduction; a discussion of the practice of killing female family members in order to maintain family honor among Israeli Palestinian women and the changes in this pattern in modern Israel. $15 for individuals; $25 for libraries. Order from ISSR, Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, P.O. Box 653, 84105, Beer Sheva, Israel: fax (972-7)647-2938: e-mail logcm©bgumail.ac.il


Are your shelves cluttered with unopened make-up samples and costume jewelry? Help Jewish women leaders in the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union who are being nurtured by Project Kesher Your unwanted, unopened mini shampoo bottles and lip gloss will be forwarded where they are used in fundraising events to help sustain ongoing workshops and programs. Send to Project Kesher, 1134Judson Ave., Evanston IL 60202: (847)332-1994: fax (847)332-2134: e-mail 74771.142@CompuServe.com

Inclusion is just the beginning. Funds are being collected to sustain projects that promote the full participation by lesbians, gay men and bisexual women and men in Jewish life, with a special focus on activities for gay, lesbian and bisexual youth as a matter of pikuach nefesh (life-saving activity). You can contribute to a Pooled Fund for Jewish Community Activism on Lesbian Gay and Bisexual Issues. Contact Sue Hoffman, The Shefa Fund, 805 E. Willow Grove Ave. #2D, Philadelphia, PA 19038: (215)247-9704, fax (215)247-1015: email shefafnd@libertynet.org

Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet is a nonprofit grassroots project that aims to bring about a shift in overall consumption patterns by focusing the collective marketplace power of women on choices that are healthy, safe and environmentally sound. Members (who pay $25 annually) receive “The Green Guide,” which is published 15 times a year, as well as legislative and program updates. Mothers & Others. 40 W. 20th St., New York, NY 10011-42 H: (888)EC0-1NF0: fax (212)242-0545: e-mail mothers@igc.apc.org

Jewish Women’s Centers—Places of Our Own

The Jewish Women’s Program is new at Lower Manhattan’s newly reopened Sol Goldman Y of the Educational Alliance. Early offerings included a course on women’s stories that combined walking tours and performance art and an “immersion in text and water” (with swimsuits, caps and goggles) on Shabbat Shira (the Sabbath when the Song of the Sea is chanted), led by author E.M. Broner and director Rabbi Ellen Lippmann. The talents of other local women made possible classes such as reading Talmud from a women’s perspective, with Talmud professor Judith Hauptman, a discussion of The Maimie Papers; Letter from an Ex-Prostitute, with founder of the Feminist Press Florence Howe, and dance midrash with choreographer Joanne Tucker. An advisory council is planning for the future. Contact director Rabbi Ellen Lippmann at the Goldman Y, 344 E. 14th St., New York. NY 10003 (212) 780-0800×246.

Ma’yan the Jewish Women’s Project at the JCC on the Upper West Side has modeled several extraordinary programs since it was founded four years ago. For example Ma’yan offers several rosh hodesh groups; “Journeying to Creativity: women in midlife reinventing Rosh Hodesh through study, music, ritual, collage and group discussions,” “Coming Home: Rosh Hodesh for Lesbians,” and an early morning rosh hodesh group for very busy women. Since Ma’yan’s inception, a Jewish feminist research group has met periodically. Two new programs are a Friday morning study group reading Marcia Falk’s Book of Blessings and a Jewish women’s film series. The Bat Mitzvah Workshop for Mothers and Daughters draws participants from across synagogue denominations. Ma’yan, 15 W. 65th St., 8th fl.. New York. NY 10023; (212)580- 0099; fax (212)580-9498.