Archive for the ‘Ashkenazi’ Category

Genetics Should Play a Bigger Role in Clinical Decision-Making – Monthly Prescribing Reference (registration)

Many physicians don’t connect race or ethnicity to genetics and clinical decision-making

With the availability of home genetic testing kits from companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry DNA, more people will be getting information about their genetic lineage and what races and ethnicities of the world are included in their DNA.

Geneticists, meanwhile, are also getting more tailored information about disease risk and prevalence as genetic testing in medical research centers continues.

Physicians accept that cystic fibrosis, for example, is much more common in people with Northern European ancestry and that sickle cell disease occurs dramatically more often in people with African origins. These commonly accepted racial and ethnic differences in disease prevalence are just the tip of the iceberg when looking at clinical differences that vary based on genetics.

But there’s a problem, a recent study from the National Institutes of Health found. Many physicians and other providers are uncomfortable discussing race with their patients, and also reticent to connect race or ethnicity to genetics and clinical decision-making, the study suggested.

Overall, physician focus groups asserted that genetics has a limited role in explaining racial differences in health, the authors added.

As a primary care physician who teaches urban health to medical students and as a state minority health commissioner who advocates for health equity, I see this as a problem that health care systems, and their providers, need to address.

Commercial DNA tests, such as those provided by 23andMe, not only give people their racial and ethnic lineage but also can provide a weighted risk for diabetes, stomach ulcers, cancer and many other diseases. In April, the FDA granted approval to 23andMe to sell reports to consumers that tell them whether they may be at heightened risk.

These companies already have the data that describe the risks for health problems based on the percentage of their ancestry composition. Those differences have been published and known in academic circles for many years. With the widespread availability of DNA tests, patients will now know their increased individual risks.

For example, Ashkenazi Jews, a specific Jewish ethnic population originating from Central and Eastern Europe, are known for having a disproportionate occurrence of a number of diseases, including Tay-Sachs disease, amyloidosis, breast cancer, colon cancer and many more.

The BRCA1/2 gene mutation greatly increases the propensity for breast and colon cancer and occurs in 1 in 40 people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, whereas 1 in 800 Americans in general carry that mutation. This 20-fold increased risk should prompt more aggressive screening for the gene, and more frequent and earlier mammography and colonoscopies in Ashkenazi Jews compared to the general population.

Relatively higher rates of these cancers occur in certain populations, such as Ashkenazi Jews, and demonstrates the need for more nuanced care based on data that is already available. But this information is too infrequently accessed by providers.

African-Americans are another group with higher rates of certain genetically driven diseases. African-American men have an increased occurrence of prostate cancer, kidney failure, stroke and other health problems. Prostate cancer in African-American men, for example, grows faster and metastasizes four times as often than in European-Americans.

But despite this increased risk for prostate cancer, doctors’ use of the PSA (prostate specific antigen), a test that works well with identifying prostate cancer in African-Americans, has steadily decreased due to recommendations aimed at majority patients who come from European-related heritage. In European-Americans, prostate cancer can be more indolent and occurs at a lower rate than African-Americans.

Follow this link:
Genetics Should Play a Bigger Role in Clinical Decision-Making – Monthly Prescribing Reference (registration)

Fair Usage Law

June 21, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Missing babies: Israel’s Yemenite children affair – BBC News


BBC News
Missing babies: Israel's Yemenite children affair
BBC News
One of the disturbing aspects of the Yemenite Children Affair is the way the darker-skinned immigrants appear to have been treated as second-class citizens. The founders of Israel were mostly Ashkenazi Jews, of European descent, some of whom expressed …

and more »

The rest is here:
Missing babies: Israel’s Yemenite children affair – BBC News

Fair Usage Law

June 21, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

The Need for Tolerance in Judaism | Jewish & Israel News … – Algemeiner

A Torah scroll. Photo: Rabbisacks.org.

I am returning to last weeks subject of homosexuality in Judaism and the personal attacks on Rabbi Joseph Dweck, because the ramifications are still very troubling.

The illogical, political and personal attacks on Rabbi Dweck have led him totake a leave of absence from the Sephardi Beth Din in London. The Sephardi Beth Din is made up of several different constituencies. Most are unduly influenced by Ashkenazi pressure, and many are not as enlightened or open-minded as the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community.

Let me start by explaining who the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities are, and why the views of Rabbi Dweck areso important in Jewish life.

June 19, 2017 2:57 pm

The Spanish and Portuguese Jews (the S&P) trace their unique customs, liturgy and pronunciation to Jews who fled Iberia for Northern Europe and the New World some 500 years ago. They established their communities first in Amsterdam, where their originalsynagogue survives in all its glory to this day.

They then entered Britain illegally. Cromwell, despite his willingness and the arguments of Amsterdams brilliant and enlightened Rabbi Manasseh Ben Israel, couldnt get Parliament to overturn Edward the Firsts ban on Jewish settlement. Antisemitism has a long and despicable history in the UK. But Cromwellturned a blind eye, andthe Spanish and Portuguese Jewsre-established the modern Jewish presence in London. Their first synagogue, Bevis Marks, was completed in 1701 with beams, it is said, donated by Queen Ann herself. Other S&P synagoguessoon opened up in the United States and North America.

But theoriginal S&P membership has all but disappeared. For years now, they have drawn on other communitiesSephardi and even Ashkenazifor their membership and religious leadership. Theirpresent rabbi is an Ashkenazi, highly educated and open-minded, from the Soloveitchik family.

In London, the S&P was the power and the authority of the Anglo-Jewish community. In the 19th century, the influx of Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe changed the character of Anglo Jewry. Eventually, the Ashkenazistook over. The United Synagogue and its chief rabbinate became the decisive force in Anglo Jewry for the next hundred years. But slowly, the United Synagogue, like IsraelsChief Rabbinate, came under pressure from a different breedof Jews more aggressive, expansionist and fundamentalist.

Although UK mainstream Orthodoxy was never that strictly Orthodox, it prided itself on its inclusiveness and its tolerance. But as the haredi world grew, the Chief Rabbinate of the United Synagogue failed to stand up for its constituency. Its chief rabbis failed in their mission to preserve the island of open tolerance and moderation that had been established in Anglo-Jewish communities.

I have no problem with haredi rabbis running their own affairs. They should. It is when they interfere with others when they try to bully those they disagree with, andthey seek to change a community of a different tradition that I say they have overstepped their mark, and should be put firmly back into place. Not only that, but the behavior of some of them invalidates their own Orthodoxy becausethe calumnies that they have spread are clear violations of Jewish law.

Both the Sephardi and Ashkenazi worlds have their extremes and their varieties. I am not saying that one is right, and the other is wrong. There is a lot to be said for closed communities, just as there is for open ones. Butboth have their dangers. If I had to choose, I would choosethe charedi world. I am simply arguing for variety, for choiceto let others live the way that they want to.

Within Jewish law, within its constitution, there is room for variety and civilized disagreement. There is a strict side and a lenient one. A rational side and a mystical one. Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Chasidic, Lithuanian;open and closed;nationalist and anti-nationalist. Each constituency is different. This is the glory of the Torah. Let us not demean it.

The S&P must stand firm as a bastion of Torah sanity and moderation. I congratulate them on their support for Rabbi Dweck. I hope they will continue to resist the fanatics, and that the Beth Din will have the good sense to ask Rabbi Dweck back. Anglo Jewry needs rabbis like him.

See the original post here:
The Need for Tolerance in Judaism | Jewish & Israel News … – Algemeiner

Fair Usage Law

June 19, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues – The Telegraph (blog)


The Telegraph (blog)
Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues
The Telegraph (blog)
Relatively higher rates of these cancers occur in certain populations, such as Ashkenazi Jews, and demonstrates the need for more nuanced care based on data that is already available. But this information is too infrequently accessed by providers.

and more »

Read the original:
Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues – The Telegraph (blog)

Fair Usage Law

June 19, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues – Laredo Morning Times

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Greg Hall, Case Western Reserve University

(THE CONVERSATION) With the availability of home genetic testing kits from companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry DNA, more people will be getting information about their genetic lineage and what races and ethnicities of the world are included in their DNA.

Geneticists, meanwhile, are also getting more tailored information about disease risk and prevalence as genetic testing in medical research centers continues.

Physicians accept that cystic fibrosis, for example, is much more common in people with Northern European ancestry and that sickle cell disease occurs dramatically more often in people with African origins. These commonly accepted racial and ethnic differences in disease prevalence are just the tip of the iceberg when looking at clinical differences that vary based on genetics.

But theres a problem, a recent study from the National Institutes of Health found. Many physicians and other providers are uncomfortable discussing race with their patients, and also reticent to connect race or ethnicity to genetics and clinical decision-making, the study suggested.

Overall, physician focus groups asserted that genetics has a limited role in explaining racial differences in health, the authors added.

As a primary care physician who teaches urban health to medical students and as a state minority health commissioner who advocates for health equity, I see this as a problem that health care systems, and their providers, need to address.

Commercial DNA tests, such as those provided by 23andMe, not only give people their racial and ethnic lineage but also can provide a weighted risk for diabetes, stomach ulcers, cancer and many other diseases. In April, the FDA granted approval to 23andMe to sell reports to consumers that tell them whether they may be at heightened risk.

These companies already have the data that describe the risks for health problems based on the percentage of their ancestry composition. Those differences have been published and known in academic circles for many years. With the widespread availability of DNA tests, patients will now know their increased individual risks.

For example, Ashkenazi Jews, a specific Jewish ethnic population originating from Central and Eastern Europe, are known for having a disproportionate occurrence of a number of diseases, including Tay-Sachs disease, amyloidosis, breast cancer, colon cancer and many more.

The BRCA1/2 gene mutation greatly increases the propensity for breast and colon cancer and occurs in 1 in 40 people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, whereas 1 in 800 Americans in general carry that mutation. This 20-fold increased risk should prompt more aggressive screening for the gene, and more frequent and earlier mammography and colonoscopies in Ashkenazi Jews compared to the general population.

Relatively higher rates of these cancers occur in certain populations, such as Ashkenazi Jews, and demonstrates the need for more nuanced care based on data that is already available. But this information is too infrequently accessed by providers.

African-Americans are another group with higher rates of certain genetically driven diseases. African-American men have an increased occurrence of prostate cancer, kidney failure, stroke and other health problems. Prostate cancer in African-American men, for example, grows faster and metastasizes four times as often than in European-Americans.

But despite this increased risk for prostate cancer, doctors use of the PSA (prostate specific antigen), a test that works well with identifying prostate cancer in African-Americans, has steadily decreased due to recommendations aimed at majority patients who come from European-related heritage. In European-Americans, prostate cancer can be more indolent and occurs at a lower rate than African-Americans.

Also, certain types of blood pressure medications ACE inhibitors, for example lead to worse outcomes in African-Americans when used singularly as first-line therapy for high blood pressure, yet these medications work very well in Americans of European decent, a large study of hypertension therapy found.

A follow-up study that looked at subsequent clinical practices which was done in response to changed recommendations based on race showed nearly a third of African-American hypertensive patients continued to be prescribed medications that cause worse outcomes.

African-Americans also have a four-fold increased risk for renal disease leading to dialysis. Geneticists suspect that they have identified the gene that drives this difference yet most clinicians do not have the resources to test for this gene and identify the 30 percent of African-Americans that carry it.

And a gene that greatly increases the risk for Alzheimers disease, APOE-4, has also been identified and occurs disproportionately higher in European-Americans yet is almost nonexistent in African-Americans and is inconsistent in Hispanic-Americans. Great controversy exists surrounding the testing for this gene, given the devastating impact it could have on a patient or family. (Hispanic and African-Americans still have a very significant risk for Alzheimers disease, but it is not driven by this gene).

Patient response to medications vary according to the presence or absence of genetic variants, which can impact the dose and the effect of many pharmaceuticals. Some of these differences can be anticipated based on race or ethnicity. For example, Warfarin is a commonly used medication in the treatment of a number of cardiovascular disorders including atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis and heart valve replacement. It shows wide variations in dosing, with Americans of Asian descent requiring less medication and African-Americans requiring more to achieve equal effects. European-Americans have a variant gene that make having a major bleed on Warfarin much higher.

A popular cholesterol-lowering medication, Rosuvastatin, better known as trade name Crestor, is twice as powerful in patients of Asian descent, and their manufacturing label indicates starting at a much lower dose in this population. In fact, the highest manufactured pill dose of Crestor is contraindicated in Asian patients.

Because of the patient-centered movement in hospitals, clinics and insurance plans, providers are now feeling increased pressure to improve the quality of care provided to individual patients. Many outcomes and patient cost of care are now tracked by providers. And countless well-designed studies have validated verified differences in the clinical care of a number of pervasive diseases based on ancestry.

Providers need to educate themselves about the important differences that exist in their patient populations. Health disparities, while driven by a number of social factors, are also the result of some clinicians not applying known nuances in the care of special populations.

As home genetic testing grows, patients will be bringing their results to physicians for reaction and response. Physicians will need to be proactively prepared.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here: http://theconversation.com/even-though-genetic-information-is-available-doctors-may-be-ignoring-important-clinical-clues-78654.

Excerpt from:
Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues – Laredo Morning Times

Fair Usage Law

June 19, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Ashkenazi Jews

Ashkenazi Jews, that is, those Jews of Eastern European origin, constitute more than 80 percent of all world Jewry. The early founders of the Ashkenazi community made their way to Europe during Roman rule, but the majority of the founders of the population came more recently from the region of present day Israel, moved to Spain, France, and Italy, and then in the 10th century into the Rhineland valley in Germany. It is estimated that prior to 1096, the first Crusade, the entire Jewish population of Germany comprised 20,000 people.

The consequence of the unique demographic history of the Ashkenazi Jews is that they have a more homogeneous genetic background compared to the general population.

There are several rare genetic diseases, which occur with a particularly high incidence among Ashkenazi Jews, including Tay-Sachs, Gaucher disease, Bloom syndrome, Idiopathic torsion dystonia, Familial dysautonomia, Factor XI deficiency, and more. For many of these disorders in which a causative gene has been identified, a specific mutation was found to be the cause of most cases of the disease in Ashkenazi Jews.

The frequencies of the common mutations of most of these diseases are between 1/16 and 1/110 among Ashkenazi Jews. Each of these mutations is found mainly in the context of a single haplotype, a finding consistent with a single founder of each mutation. For example, the gene causing Familial dysautonomia (FD) was mapped to a segment of chromosome 9 using Ashkenazi families. The candidate region was confirmed by haplotype analysis; haplotype sharing among 435 out of 441 FD chromosomes revealed a strong founder effect.

Age estimations were calculated by a genetic clock for most of the high frequency diseases listed above. The origin of the investigated mutations can be all dated to between the 9th and 14th centuries and is consistent with the early migration of Jews to Europe and the founding of the Jewish community in Eastern Europe. The high frequency of some genetic disorders among the Ashkenazi Jews (less than 1/100) indicates that the founder chromosome carrying the disease allele was introduced into a very small population, probably in the order of about 100 unrelated individuals. The demographic expansion that followed the early migration maintained the high frequency of these alleles and was probably also affected by genetic drift.

Goodman, R.M. (1979). Genetic diseases among Ashkenazi Jews. New York: Raven Press. pp. xiii, 440.

Motulsky, A.G. (1995). Jewish diseases and origins. Natural Genetics 9:99-101.

Zlotogora, J. (1994). High frequencies of human genetic diseases: founder effect with genetic drift or selection? American Journal of Medical Genetics 49:10-3.

Read this article:
Ashkenazi Jews

Fair Usage Law

June 16, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

The Sephardim-Part I Their Heritage – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Sephardic Jews from Spain.

Many American Jews, who are at least 95 percent Ashkenazi by origin, also find it hard to relate to those Jews in Israel whose cultural background is so different. By origin, approximately 50 percent of the Israeli Jewish population identify themselves as “Edot HaMizrah” (The Eastern communities) and are generally distinguishable by the many factors that are attributable to a different cultural heritage and separation by many centuries from the Ashkenazim-in their genetic make-up (often but not always skin complexion), and a whole host of traits such as male-female relationships, social conventions, attitudes towards child upbringing, dress, food preferences, music, use of language (pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax and grammar of both Hebrew and various Judeo-hybrid languages), courtship, marriage and divorce customs, sex attitudes, perception of time, attitudes toward literacy, learning and education, recreation and leisure pursuits, work ethic, attitudes towards public space, respect for authority, the rules by which status and rank are determined, prevailing ideas of liberty and restraint, views of wealth, folklore and superstitions.

Although a gross simplification, it has become acceptable parlance to divide all Jews into two major geo-cultural groups: “Ashkenazim” from the Hebrew term Ashkenaz that came to denote Eastern and Central Europe, and “Sephardim,” from the Hebrew term Spharad, denoting Spain and the Diaspora that followed the 1492 expulsion from the Iberian peninsula. Technically speaking, calling all Jews who were and are indigenous to Asia and African as Sephardim is wrong historically and just as misleading as European settlers calling the native peoples of the Western hemisphere “Indians.”

Any serious student of Jewish history and tradition knows that the only authentic Sephardim are the descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal. They went on to settle in Western Europe including England, Holland, Denmark, North Western Germany, colonial America, the Caribbean and Brazil as well as in lands dominated by Islam, throughout North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, the Balkans and across the Levant. There are thus many Sephardi Jews who have always lived in Europe and many Jewish communities around the world composed of both Sephardim and Ashkenazim, who lived together and intermarried, notably in Italy, Egypt, Syria and Bulgaria, where later Ashkenazi immigrants arrived and were welcome by Sephardi residents. This has also been true in the Caribbean, South America and modern Israel.

Just as America’s Afro-American population has gone through several self-designations indicating a search for their authentic identity ranging from Black to Colored to Negro and then Afro-American and for some, back to Black (originally a term of disparagement used by whites), Israel’s Jews of Afro-Asian origin have shifted from Sephardi to Mizrachi (Oriental). For religious purposes, “Sephardi” describes the nusach (“litugical tradition”) used by most non-Ashkenazi Jews in the Siddur (prayer book).

In reality, there are also many Jews who are neither Ashkenazi nor Sephardi. These include the Jews of Ethiopia, Egypt, India, Iraq,Iran, Yemen, the Caucasus region (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia), all of whom are recognized as being of Afro-Asian origin yet have nothing to do with the original Sephardim. They are the descendants of the Jews who fled into exile following the Assyrian, Babylonian and Roman conquests of ancient Israel. No doubt, they were later joined by numerous converts who were attracted to the high moral and ethical principles that distinguished Judaism in ancient times from pagan and polytheistic religions.

There is indeed a serious social and geo-cultural cleavage in Israel’s diverse Jewish population groups, precisely because all the four divisions overlap to a considerable degree. Most of the Jews from Africa and Asia arrived in Israel after 1948 and being relative newcomers had to adjust to difficult conditions. Most of them arrived destitute and unlike many of the Ashkenazim never received any reparations for their confiscated property.

They still tend to have larger families and as a rule are much more religiously observant than the Ashkenazim who established the secular norms and institutions of the Zionist movement and later of the State of Israel. It is only human nature that the new arrivals from Asia and Africa resented the more established veteran European settlers and those new immigrants from Europe who immediately found more personal connections and sympathy with the veteran Ashkenazi settlers through a common knowledge of Yiddish and shared political and social backgrounds.

A list of new army recruits will probably reveal names like de Leon, Toledano, Castro, Franco, Mizrahi, Dayan, Gabbai, Abulafia, Kimhi, Shar’abi, Sassoon, Azulay, Kadouri, Marziano, Ohana, Aflalo and Hasson, as often or more than Schwartz, Goldberg, Wolf, Guttmann, Rabinowitz, Berdichevsky, Kaplan or Finkelstein. So how then can they then be one people? They are, because history, traditions and their faith (whether they are orthodox observant or secular) have instilled in them the idea of sharing a common peoplehood.

Jews, although a small minority in the South, were well respected and even elected as mayors in towns such as Ocala and Tampa in the 1890s long before the post-World War II mass migration to the state! The fact that these mayors were all conservative businessmen does not fit the “image” of the natural tendency of American Jews towards liberal/Left and radical politics.

Yemeni Sephardic boys in Egypt.

Prior to the mass immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia following the Civil War, the American Jewish community was predominantly Sephardi (of Spanish-Portuguese origin and who later emigrated to Holland and then the New World), and German-Alsatian. The Jews of Savannah, New Orleans, Charleston and nearby Georgetown were wealthy, conservative, very educated and cultured and predominantly of Sephardi origin. They gravitated toward Reform but were determined to maintain a strong sense of communal identity.

Cultural and folklore difference

Sephardim eat rice during Pesach. They have a more relaxed attitude toward sex and erotic themes (song), are more self-forgiving, self-mocking and understanding of human faults and weaknesses. They are less maudlin; Zionist leader and great poet, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, explained his support of the Sephardi (Judeo-Spanish) pronunciation of Hebrew as due, in part, to appreciation of the gayer, more carefree, less inhibited nature of the Sephardim and their Mediterranean traditions than the heritage of the more morose and somber Ashkenazi (East European Jewish) past.

Continued here:
The Sephardim-Part I Their Heritage – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Fair Usage Law

June 16, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Study on Crohn’s disease in Ashkenazi Jews – Private Healthcare UK

Professor Lovat, an experienced consultant gastroenterologist who practices at the London Gastroenterology Centre in Harley Street, London, was involved in a recently published a report that studies the genetic complexity of Crohns disease. The report examines why Ashkenazi Jewish families are seemingly the most commonly affected by the disease.

Crohns disease is a long-term gastrointestinal condition that causes inflammation in the lining of the digestive system. It can also be referred to as ileitis or enteritis.

The disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, all the way from the mouth down to the anus. Most commonly, it is the small intestine that is affected.

Crohns disease has a number of painful and uncomfortable symptoms, including:

According to the NHS, 1 in 1500 people suffer from Crohns disease in the UK affecting both males and females equally with most patients noticing the initial symptoms of the disease between the ages of 15 and 40.

Evidence shows that Ashkenazi Jews are approximately four times more likely to develop Crohns disease than non-Jews living under the same circumstances. This is due to a genetic predisposition passed down within families from generation to generation.

The study, which Professor Lovat played a part in, found that the genetic basis of the disease is particularly complex, with a role for both common and rare genetic variations. The findings show the value of family studies and the importance of the innate immune system in the development of Crohns Disease within Ashkenazi Jewish families.

For more information, download the full report.

Read the original:
Study on Crohn’s disease in Ashkenazi Jews – Private Healthcare UK

Fair Usage Law

June 14, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Learning from Laughter this Father’s Day – My Jewish Learning

A Father’s Day tribute to the white grandfather who raised me to be a proud biracial Jewish man.

Growing up, while others went to baseball games or played catch with their dads, I never really did.

At an early age, my sisters and I went to live with our maternal grandparents, who later adopted us. Every time Fathers Day would come around, it was spent with my grandfather. So Fathers Day was always about the man who raised me, my grandfather Norman DeYoung.

Now, I am sure my grandpa never expected to raise his grandchildren, but he did so with a smile on his face. Raising kids is hard at any age, so Ive heard, but when they are of a different background than you are it brings up complications that would exist otherwise; see, I am bi-racial but my grandfather was white. One day when he was taking my sisters and me for a walk, a crossing guard asked, What beautiful grandchildren, what are they? Without skipping a beat my grandfather said, Well, Im pretty sure this ones a boy and the other two are girls. While some perceive that comment as casual sarcasm, this situation held a lot of significance to me. We were never his Black grandchildren, we were just his grandchildren.

Norman was no stranger to being outside of the box. His Jewish heritage was a little vague. According to him, he was neither Ashkenazi or Sephardi and maybe a bit of both. As a result, we would mix rituals in the house. On Passover, we would have Ashkenazi gefilte fish with Sephardi rice. Most tefillin follow either a Sephardi or Ashkenazi pattern of knots, but his fathers tefillin (which I still wrap today) were made in a non-distinctive way again a little bit of both and neither! Instead of watching sports like most of my friends dads, he would often be found gallivanting around New Jersey with us kids in tow or quietly sitting at home teaching me to play chess.

In truth, playing baseball was never really in the cards with my grandfather, and not just because of his age. Growing up in Britain during World War II, baseball was not popular. It was completely unfamiliar to him. After he retired, my grandfather continued teaching at my Jewish day school. One spring, the high school was playing softball, teachers v. students; my grandfather played for the teachers. Mind you, I had never seen him play a sportever. Let alone baseball. The first I heard of his foray into the sport came when I passed by the nurses office and saw him there getting patched up. I was worried, but he held a smug grin. He said he made a hit and slid to first base. We were both proud of his athletic achievement.

He couldnt model for me how to be a person of color. And in a perfect world, one shouldnt have to teach that. But he taught me how to be a good person, and that is all that should matter. I learned about being a man from how he behaved throughout his life, with lots of humor and respect; thats how he treated all people, regardless of race or religion. He taught me to be comfortable with my perception of myself, and not to worry about what others thought. Today, in no small part because of my grandfather, I am able to comfortable traverse the terrain of walking into a Jewish space, even when people are surprised to find a biracial man who can pray easily in Hebrew. Today, in no small part because of my grandfather, I am able to acclimate myself to new or uncomfortable situations with light humor.

This Fathers Day will be the hardest one I have ever had. My grandfather passed away on November 3, 2016. There will never be another game of chess, story of wartime London, baseball game with students, or a witty comeback. But there will always be love and gratitude for Norman DeYoung.

Empower your Jewish discovery, daily

Link:
Learning from Laughter this Father’s Day – My Jewish Learning

Fair Usage Law

June 14, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Genetics Should Play a Bigger Role in Clinical Decision-Making – Monthly Prescribing Reference (registration)

Many physicians don’t connect race or ethnicity to genetics and clinical decision-making With the availability of home genetic testing kits from companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry DNA, more people will be getting information about their genetic lineage and what races and ethnicities of the world are included in their DNA. Geneticists, meanwhile, are also getting more tailored information about disease risk and prevalence as genetic testing in medical research centers continues. Physicians accept that cystic fibrosis, for example, is much more common in people with Northern European ancestry and that sickle cell disease occurs dramatically more often in people with African origins. These commonly accepted racial and ethnic differences in disease prevalence are just the tip of the iceberg when looking at clinical differences that vary based on genetics. But there’s a problem, a recent study from the National Institutes of Health found. Many physicians and other providers are uncomfortable discussing race with their patients, and also reticent to connect race or ethnicity to genetics and clinical decision-making, the study suggested. Overall, physician focus groups asserted that genetics has a limited role in explaining racial differences in health, the authors added. As a primary care physician who teaches urban health to medical students and as a state minority health commissioner who advocates for health equity, I see this as a problem that health care systems, and their providers, need to address. Commercial DNA tests, such as those provided by 23andMe, not only give people their racial and ethnic lineage but also can provide a weighted risk for diabetes, stomach ulcers, cancer and many other diseases. In April, the FDA granted approval to 23andMe to sell reports to consumers that tell them whether they may be at heightened risk. These companies already have the data that describe the risks for health problems based on the percentage of their ancestry composition. Those differences have been published and known in academic circles for many years. With the widespread availability of DNA tests, patients will now know their increased individual risks. For example, Ashkenazi Jews, a specific Jewish ethnic population originating from Central and Eastern Europe, are known for having a disproportionate occurrence of a number of diseases, including Tay-Sachs disease, amyloidosis, breast cancer, colon cancer and many more. The BRCA1/2 gene mutation greatly increases the propensity for breast and colon cancer and occurs in 1 in 40 people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, whereas 1 in 800 Americans in general carry that mutation. This 20-fold increased risk should prompt more aggressive screening for the gene, and more frequent and earlier mammography and colonoscopies in Ashkenazi Jews compared to the general population. Relatively higher rates of these cancers occur in certain populations, such as Ashkenazi Jews, and demonstrates the need for more nuanced care based on data that is already available. But this information is too infrequently accessed by providers. African-Americans are another group with higher rates of certain genetically driven diseases. African-American men have an increased occurrence of prostate cancer, kidney failure, stroke and other health problems. Prostate cancer in African-American men, for example, grows faster and metastasizes four times as often than in European-Americans. But despite this increased risk for prostate cancer, doctors’ use of the PSA (prostate specific antigen), a test that works well with identifying prostate cancer in African-Americans, has steadily decreased due to recommendations aimed at majority patients who come from European-related heritage. In European-Americans, prostate cancer can be more indolent and occurs at a lower rate than African-Americans.

Fair Usage Law

June 21, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Missing babies: Israel’s Yemenite children affair – BBC News

BBC News Missing babies: Israel's Yemenite children affair BBC News One of the disturbing aspects of the Yemenite Children Affair is the way the darker-skinned immigrants appear to have been treated as second-class citizens. The founders of Israel were mostly Ashkenazi Jews, of European descent, some of whom expressed … and more »

Fair Usage Law

June 21, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

The Need for Tolerance in Judaism | Jewish & Israel News … – Algemeiner

A Torah scroll. Photo: Rabbisacks.org. I am returning to last weeks subject of homosexuality in Judaism and the personal attacks on Rabbi Joseph Dweck, because the ramifications are still very troubling. The illogical, political and personal attacks on Rabbi Dweck have led him totake a leave of absence from the Sephardi Beth Din in London. The Sephardi Beth Din is made up of several different constituencies. Most are unduly influenced by Ashkenazi pressure, and many are not as enlightened or open-minded as the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community. Let me start by explaining who the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities are, and why the views of Rabbi Dweck areso important in Jewish life. June 19, 2017 2:57 pm The Spanish and Portuguese Jews (the S&P) trace their unique customs, liturgy and pronunciation to Jews who fled Iberia for Northern Europe and the New World some 500 years ago. They established their communities first in Amsterdam, where their originalsynagogue survives in all its glory to this day. They then entered Britain illegally. Cromwell, despite his willingness and the arguments of Amsterdams brilliant and enlightened Rabbi Manasseh Ben Israel, couldnt get Parliament to overturn Edward the Firsts ban on Jewish settlement. Antisemitism has a long and despicable history in the UK. But Cromwellturned a blind eye, andthe Spanish and Portuguese Jewsre-established the modern Jewish presence in London. Their first synagogue, Bevis Marks, was completed in 1701 with beams, it is said, donated by Queen Ann herself. Other S&P synagoguessoon opened up in the United States and North America. But theoriginal S&P membership has all but disappeared. For years now, they have drawn on other communitiesSephardi and even Ashkenazifor their membership and religious leadership. Theirpresent rabbi is an Ashkenazi, highly educated and open-minded, from the Soloveitchik family. In London, the S&P was the power and the authority of the Anglo-Jewish community. In the 19th century, the influx of Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe changed the character of Anglo Jewry. Eventually, the Ashkenazistook over. The United Synagogue and its chief rabbinate became the decisive force in Anglo Jewry for the next hundred years. But slowly, the United Synagogue, like IsraelsChief Rabbinate, came under pressure from a different breedof Jews more aggressive, expansionist and fundamentalist. Although UK mainstream Orthodoxy was never that strictly Orthodox, it prided itself on its inclusiveness and its tolerance. But as the haredi world grew, the Chief Rabbinate of the United Synagogue failed to stand up for its constituency. Its chief rabbis failed in their mission to preserve the island of open tolerance and moderation that had been established in Anglo-Jewish communities. I have no problem with haredi rabbis running their own affairs. They should. It is when they interfere with others when they try to bully those they disagree with, andthey seek to change a community of a different tradition that I say they have overstepped their mark, and should be put firmly back into place. Not only that, but the behavior of some of them invalidates their own Orthodoxy becausethe calumnies that they have spread are clear violations of Jewish law. Both the Sephardi and Ashkenazi worlds have their extremes and their varieties. I am not saying that one is right, and the other is wrong. There is a lot to be said for closed communities, just as there is for open ones. Butboth have their dangers. If I had to choose, I would choosethe charedi world. I am simply arguing for variety, for choiceto let others live the way that they want to. Within Jewish law, within its constitution, there is room for variety and civilized disagreement. There is a strict side and a lenient one. A rational side and a mystical one. Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Chasidic, Lithuanian;open and closed;nationalist and anti-nationalist. Each constituency is different. This is the glory of the Torah. Let us not demean it. The S&P must stand firm as a bastion of Torah sanity and moderation. I congratulate them on their support for Rabbi Dweck. I hope they will continue to resist the fanatics, and that the Beth Din will have the good sense to ask Rabbi Dweck back. Anglo Jewry needs rabbis like him.

Fair Usage Law

June 19, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues – The Telegraph (blog)

The Telegraph (blog) Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues The Telegraph (blog) Relatively higher rates of these cancers occur in certain populations, such as Ashkenazi Jews, and demonstrates the need for more nuanced care based on data that is already available. But this information is too infrequently accessed by providers. and more »

Fair Usage Law

June 19, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Even though genetic information is available, doctors may be ignoring important clinical clues – Laredo Morning Times

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.) Greg Hall, Case Western Reserve University (THE CONVERSATION) With the availability of home genetic testing kits from companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry DNA, more people will be getting information about their genetic lineage and what races and ethnicities of the world are included in their DNA. Geneticists, meanwhile, are also getting more tailored information about disease risk and prevalence as genetic testing in medical research centers continues. Physicians accept that cystic fibrosis, for example, is much more common in people with Northern European ancestry and that sickle cell disease occurs dramatically more often in people with African origins. These commonly accepted racial and ethnic differences in disease prevalence are just the tip of the iceberg when looking at clinical differences that vary based on genetics. But theres a problem, a recent study from the National Institutes of Health found. Many physicians and other providers are uncomfortable discussing race with their patients, and also reticent to connect race or ethnicity to genetics and clinical decision-making, the study suggested. Overall, physician focus groups asserted that genetics has a limited role in explaining racial differences in health, the authors added. As a primary care physician who teaches urban health to medical students and as a state minority health commissioner who advocates for health equity, I see this as a problem that health care systems, and their providers, need to address. Commercial DNA tests, such as those provided by 23andMe, not only give people their racial and ethnic lineage but also can provide a weighted risk for diabetes, stomach ulcers, cancer and many other diseases. In April, the FDA granted approval to 23andMe to sell reports to consumers that tell them whether they may be at heightened risk. These companies already have the data that describe the risks for health problems based on the percentage of their ancestry composition. Those differences have been published and known in academic circles for many years. With the widespread availability of DNA tests, patients will now know their increased individual risks. For example, Ashkenazi Jews, a specific Jewish ethnic population originating from Central and Eastern Europe, are known for having a disproportionate occurrence of a number of diseases, including Tay-Sachs disease, amyloidosis, breast cancer, colon cancer and many more. The BRCA1/2 gene mutation greatly increases the propensity for breast and colon cancer and occurs in 1 in 40 people of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, whereas 1 in 800 Americans in general carry that mutation. This 20-fold increased risk should prompt more aggressive screening for the gene, and more frequent and earlier mammography and colonoscopies in Ashkenazi Jews compared to the general population. Relatively higher rates of these cancers occur in certain populations, such as Ashkenazi Jews, and demonstrates the need for more nuanced care based on data that is already available. But this information is too infrequently accessed by providers. African-Americans are another group with higher rates of certain genetically driven diseases. African-American men have an increased occurrence of prostate cancer, kidney failure, stroke and other health problems. Prostate cancer in African-American men, for example, grows faster and metastasizes four times as often than in European-Americans. But despite this increased risk for prostate cancer, doctors use of the PSA (prostate specific antigen), a test that works well with identifying prostate cancer in African-Americans, has steadily decreased due to recommendations aimed at majority patients who come from European-related heritage. In European-Americans, prostate cancer can be more indolent and occurs at a lower rate than African-Americans. Also, certain types of blood pressure medications ACE inhibitors, for example lead to worse outcomes in African-Americans when used singularly as first-line therapy for high blood pressure, yet these medications work very well in Americans of European decent, a large study of hypertension therapy found. A follow-up study that looked at subsequent clinical practices which was done in response to changed recommendations based on race showed nearly a third of African-American hypertensive patients continued to be prescribed medications that cause worse outcomes. African-Americans also have a four-fold increased risk for renal disease leading to dialysis. Geneticists suspect that they have identified the gene that drives this difference yet most clinicians do not have the resources to test for this gene and identify the 30 percent of African-Americans that carry it. And a gene that greatly increases the risk for Alzheimers disease, APOE-4, has also been identified and occurs disproportionately higher in European-Americans yet is almost nonexistent in African-Americans and is inconsistent in Hispanic-Americans. Great controversy exists surrounding the testing for this gene, given the devastating impact it could have on a patient or family. (Hispanic and African-Americans still have a very significant risk for Alzheimers disease, but it is not driven by this gene). Patient response to medications vary according to the presence or absence of genetic variants, which can impact the dose and the effect of many pharmaceuticals. Some of these differences can be anticipated based on race or ethnicity. For example, Warfarin is a commonly used medication in the treatment of a number of cardiovascular disorders including atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis and heart valve replacement. It shows wide variations in dosing, with Americans of Asian descent requiring less medication and African-Americans requiring more to achieve equal effects. European-Americans have a variant gene that make having a major bleed on Warfarin much higher. A popular cholesterol-lowering medication, Rosuvastatin, better known as trade name Crestor, is twice as powerful in patients of Asian descent, and their manufacturing label indicates starting at a much lower dose in this population. In fact, the highest manufactured pill dose of Crestor is contraindicated in Asian patients. Because of the patient-centered movement in hospitals, clinics and insurance plans, providers are now feeling increased pressure to improve the quality of care provided to individual patients. Many outcomes and patient cost of care are now tracked by providers. And countless well-designed studies have validated verified differences in the clinical care of a number of pervasive diseases based on ancestry. Providers need to educate themselves about the important differences that exist in their patient populations. Health disparities, while driven by a number of social factors, are also the result of some clinicians not applying known nuances in the care of special populations. As home genetic testing grows, patients will be bringing their results to physicians for reaction and response. Physicians will need to be proactively prepared. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here: http://theconversation.com/even-though-genetic-information-is-available-doctors-may-be-ignoring-important-clinical-clues-78654.

Fair Usage Law

June 19, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Ashkenazi Jews

Ashkenazi Jews, that is, those Jews of Eastern European origin, constitute more than 80 percent of all world Jewry. The early founders of the Ashkenazi community made their way to Europe during Roman rule, but the majority of the founders of the population came more recently from the region of present day Israel, moved to Spain, France, and Italy, and then in the 10th century into the Rhineland valley in Germany. It is estimated that prior to 1096, the first Crusade, the entire Jewish population of Germany comprised 20,000 people. The consequence of the unique demographic history of the Ashkenazi Jews is that they have a more homogeneous genetic background compared to the general population. There are several rare genetic diseases, which occur with a particularly high incidence among Ashkenazi Jews, including Tay-Sachs, Gaucher disease, Bloom syndrome, Idiopathic torsion dystonia, Familial dysautonomia, Factor XI deficiency, and more. For many of these disorders in which a causative gene has been identified, a specific mutation was found to be the cause of most cases of the disease in Ashkenazi Jews. The frequencies of the common mutations of most of these diseases are between 1/16 and 1/110 among Ashkenazi Jews. Each of these mutations is found mainly in the context of a single haplotype, a finding consistent with a single founder of each mutation. For example, the gene causing Familial dysautonomia (FD) was mapped to a segment of chromosome 9 using Ashkenazi families. The candidate region was confirmed by haplotype analysis; haplotype sharing among 435 out of 441 FD chromosomes revealed a strong founder effect. Age estimations were calculated by a genetic clock for most of the high frequency diseases listed above. The origin of the investigated mutations can be all dated to between the 9th and 14th centuries and is consistent with the early migration of Jews to Europe and the founding of the Jewish community in Eastern Europe. The high frequency of some genetic disorders among the Ashkenazi Jews (less than 1/100) indicates that the founder chromosome carrying the disease allele was introduced into a very small population, probably in the order of about 100 unrelated individuals. The demographic expansion that followed the early migration maintained the high frequency of these alleles and was probably also affected by genetic drift. Goodman, R.M. (1979). Genetic diseases among Ashkenazi Jews. New York: Raven Press. pp. xiii, 440. Motulsky, A.G. (1995). Jewish diseases and origins. Natural Genetics 9:99-101. Zlotogora, J. (1994). High frequencies of human genetic diseases: founder effect with genetic drift or selection? American Journal of Medical Genetics 49:10-3.

Fair Usage Law

June 16, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

The Sephardim-Part I Their Heritage – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Sephardic Jews from Spain. Many American Jews, who are at least 95 percent Ashkenazi by origin, also find it hard to relate to those Jews in Israel whose cultural background is so different. By origin, approximately 50 percent of the Israeli Jewish population identify themselves as “Edot HaMizrah” (The Eastern communities) and are generally distinguishable by the many factors that are attributable to a different cultural heritage and separation by many centuries from the Ashkenazim-in their genetic make-up (often but not always skin complexion), and a whole host of traits such as male-female relationships, social conventions, attitudes towards child upbringing, dress, food preferences, music, use of language (pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax and grammar of both Hebrew and various Judeo-hybrid languages), courtship, marriage and divorce customs, sex attitudes, perception of time, attitudes toward literacy, learning and education, recreation and leisure pursuits, work ethic, attitudes towards public space, respect for authority, the rules by which status and rank are determined, prevailing ideas of liberty and restraint, views of wealth, folklore and superstitions. Although a gross simplification, it has become acceptable parlance to divide all Jews into two major geo-cultural groups: “Ashkenazim” from the Hebrew term Ashkenaz that came to denote Eastern and Central Europe, and “Sephardim,” from the Hebrew term Spharad, denoting Spain and the Diaspora that followed the 1492 expulsion from the Iberian peninsula. Technically speaking, calling all Jews who were and are indigenous to Asia and African as Sephardim is wrong historically and just as misleading as European settlers calling the native peoples of the Western hemisphere “Indians.” Any serious student of Jewish history and tradition knows that the only authentic Sephardim are the descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal. They went on to settle in Western Europe including England, Holland, Denmark, North Western Germany, colonial America, the Caribbean and Brazil as well as in lands dominated by Islam, throughout North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, the Balkans and across the Levant. There are thus many Sephardi Jews who have always lived in Europe and many Jewish communities around the world composed of both Sephardim and Ashkenazim, who lived together and intermarried, notably in Italy, Egypt, Syria and Bulgaria, where later Ashkenazi immigrants arrived and were welcome by Sephardi residents. This has also been true in the Caribbean, South America and modern Israel. Just as America’s Afro-American population has gone through several self-designations indicating a search for their authentic identity ranging from Black to Colored to Negro and then Afro-American and for some, back to Black (originally a term of disparagement used by whites), Israel’s Jews of Afro-Asian origin have shifted from Sephardi to Mizrachi (Oriental). For religious purposes, “Sephardi” describes the nusach (“litugical tradition”) used by most non-Ashkenazi Jews in the Siddur (prayer book). In reality, there are also many Jews who are neither Ashkenazi nor Sephardi. These include the Jews of Ethiopia, Egypt, India, Iraq,Iran, Yemen, the Caucasus region (Georgia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia), all of whom are recognized as being of Afro-Asian origin yet have nothing to do with the original Sephardim. They are the descendants of the Jews who fled into exile following the Assyrian, Babylonian and Roman conquests of ancient Israel. No doubt, they were later joined by numerous converts who were attracted to the high moral and ethical principles that distinguished Judaism in ancient times from pagan and polytheistic religions. There is indeed a serious social and geo-cultural cleavage in Israel’s diverse Jewish population groups, precisely because all the four divisions overlap to a considerable degree. Most of the Jews from Africa and Asia arrived in Israel after 1948 and being relative newcomers had to adjust to difficult conditions. Most of them arrived destitute and unlike many of the Ashkenazim never received any reparations for their confiscated property. They still tend to have larger families and as a rule are much more religiously observant than the Ashkenazim who established the secular norms and institutions of the Zionist movement and later of the State of Israel. It is only human nature that the new arrivals from Asia and Africa resented the more established veteran European settlers and those new immigrants from Europe who immediately found more personal connections and sympathy with the veteran Ashkenazi settlers through a common knowledge of Yiddish and shared political and social backgrounds. A list of new army recruits will probably reveal names like de Leon, Toledano, Castro, Franco, Mizrahi, Dayan, Gabbai, Abulafia, Kimhi, Shar’abi, Sassoon, Azulay, Kadouri, Marziano, Ohana, Aflalo and Hasson, as often or more than Schwartz, Goldberg, Wolf, Guttmann, Rabinowitz, Berdichevsky, Kaplan or Finkelstein. So how then can they then be one people? They are, because history, traditions and their faith (whether they are orthodox observant or secular) have instilled in them the idea of sharing a common peoplehood. Jews, although a small minority in the South, were well respected and even elected as mayors in towns such as Ocala and Tampa in the 1890s long before the post-World War II mass migration to the state! The fact that these mayors were all conservative businessmen does not fit the “image” of the natural tendency of American Jews towards liberal/Left and radical politics. Yemeni Sephardic boys in Egypt. Prior to the mass immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia following the Civil War, the American Jewish community was predominantly Sephardi (of Spanish-Portuguese origin and who later emigrated to Holland and then the New World), and German-Alsatian. The Jews of Savannah, New Orleans, Charleston and nearby Georgetown were wealthy, conservative, very educated and cultured and predominantly of Sephardi origin. They gravitated toward Reform but were determined to maintain a strong sense of communal identity. Cultural and folklore difference Sephardim eat rice during Pesach. They have a more relaxed attitude toward sex and erotic themes (song), are more self-forgiving, self-mocking and understanding of human faults and weaknesses. They are less maudlin; Zionist leader and great poet, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, explained his support of the Sephardi (Judeo-Spanish) pronunciation of Hebrew as due, in part, to appreciation of the gayer, more carefree, less inhibited nature of the Sephardim and their Mediterranean traditions than the heritage of the more morose and somber Ashkenazi (East European Jewish) past.

Fair Usage Law

June 16, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Study on Crohn’s disease in Ashkenazi Jews – Private Healthcare UK

Professor Lovat, an experienced consultant gastroenterologist who practices at the London Gastroenterology Centre in Harley Street, London, was involved in a recently published a report that studies the genetic complexity of Crohns disease. The report examines why Ashkenazi Jewish families are seemingly the most commonly affected by the disease. Crohns disease is a long-term gastrointestinal condition that causes inflammation in the lining of the digestive system. It can also be referred to as ileitis or enteritis. The disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, all the way from the mouth down to the anus. Most commonly, it is the small intestine that is affected. Crohns disease has a number of painful and uncomfortable symptoms, including: According to the NHS, 1 in 1500 people suffer from Crohns disease in the UK affecting both males and females equally with most patients noticing the initial symptoms of the disease between the ages of 15 and 40. Evidence shows that Ashkenazi Jews are approximately four times more likely to develop Crohns disease than non-Jews living under the same circumstances. This is due to a genetic predisposition passed down within families from generation to generation. The study, which Professor Lovat played a part in, found that the genetic basis of the disease is particularly complex, with a role for both common and rare genetic variations. The findings show the value of family studies and the importance of the innate immune system in the development of Crohns Disease within Ashkenazi Jewish families. For more information, download the full report.

Fair Usage Law

June 14, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed

Learning from Laughter this Father’s Day – My Jewish Learning

A Father’s Day tribute to the white grandfather who raised me to be a proud biracial Jewish man. Growing up, while others went to baseball games or played catch with their dads, I never really did. At an early age, my sisters and I went to live with our maternal grandparents, who later adopted us. Every time Fathers Day would come around, it was spent with my grandfather. So Fathers Day was always about the man who raised me, my grandfather Norman DeYoung. Now, I am sure my grandpa never expected to raise his grandchildren, but he did so with a smile on his face. Raising kids is hard at any age, so Ive heard, but when they are of a different background than you are it brings up complications that would exist otherwise; see, I am bi-racial but my grandfather was white. One day when he was taking my sisters and me for a walk, a crossing guard asked, What beautiful grandchildren, what are they? Without skipping a beat my grandfather said, Well, Im pretty sure this ones a boy and the other two are girls. While some perceive that comment as casual sarcasm, this situation held a lot of significance to me. We were never his Black grandchildren, we were just his grandchildren. Norman was no stranger to being outside of the box. His Jewish heritage was a little vague. According to him, he was neither Ashkenazi or Sephardi and maybe a bit of both. As a result, we would mix rituals in the house. On Passover, we would have Ashkenazi gefilte fish with Sephardi rice. Most tefillin follow either a Sephardi or Ashkenazi pattern of knots, but his fathers tefillin (which I still wrap today) were made in a non-distinctive way again a little bit of both and neither! Instead of watching sports like most of my friends dads, he would often be found gallivanting around New Jersey with us kids in tow or quietly sitting at home teaching me to play chess. In truth, playing baseball was never really in the cards with my grandfather, and not just because of his age. Growing up in Britain during World War II, baseball was not popular. It was completely unfamiliar to him. After he retired, my grandfather continued teaching at my Jewish day school. One spring, the high school was playing softball, teachers v. students; my grandfather played for the teachers. Mind you, I had never seen him play a sportever. Let alone baseball. The first I heard of his foray into the sport came when I passed by the nurses office and saw him there getting patched up. I was worried, but he held a smug grin. He said he made a hit and slid to first base. We were both proud of his athletic achievement. He couldnt model for me how to be a person of color. And in a perfect world, one shouldnt have to teach that. But he taught me how to be a good person, and that is all that should matter. I learned about being a man from how he behaved throughout his life, with lots of humor and respect; thats how he treated all people, regardless of race or religion. He taught me to be comfortable with my perception of myself, and not to worry about what others thought. Today, in no small part because of my grandfather, I am able to comfortable traverse the terrain of walking into a Jewish space, even when people are surprised to find a biracial man who can pray easily in Hebrew. Today, in no small part because of my grandfather, I am able to acclimate myself to new or uncomfortable situations with light humor. This Fathers Day will be the hardest one I have ever had. My grandfather passed away on November 3, 2016. There will never be another game of chess, story of wartime London, baseball game with students, or a witty comeback. But there will always be love and gratitude for Norman DeYoung. Empower your Jewish discovery, daily

Fair Usage Law

June 14, 2017   Posted in: Ashkenazi  Comments Closed


Fair Use Disclaimer

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."