Angelina’s `Jewish Gene’

The actress wrote a new NYT oped about her prophylactic surgery; here's the JW's take on all the talk.

Special To The Jewish Week

Celebrity Angelina Jolie's recent decision to opt for prophylactic surgery after she determined she is a carrier of a mutation in the BRCA1 gene has prompted media attention the world over. Media descriptions of her “Jewish gene”, however, are misguided. 

As Angelina Jolie has found, you don't have to be of Jewish descent to carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

Beyond The Angelina Jolie Media Frenzy: Facts About BRCA

Special To The Jewish Week

Kudos to Angelina Jolie for revealing her BRCA status to the world and for undergoing a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy that may well have saved her life.  With that one op-ed, she single-handedly did more to promote awareness about BRCA gene mutations than all her BRCA buddies—myself included—could collectively do in a lifetime.

Jane Herman

Birthright Tells Only Half The Story

Special To The Jewish Week

As summer break approaches for American college students, thousands of our Jewish peers across the country will embark on their first visits to Israel through Taglit-Birthright. This program, which has brought almost 300,000 Jewish young adults to Israel over the past 13 years, free of charge, hopes to leave participants with a lasting love for Israel and a stronger connection to Judaism.

Steven Povich and Axel Hufford

Birthright Israel: Learn The Lessons

Special To The Jewish Week

Birthright Israel, the free 10-day trip to the Jewish state for 18- to 26-year-olds, is a great project. It enables scores of people to visit Israel, many of whom would otherwise never have the opportunity.

Elan Ezrachi

Post-Boston, Appreciating The NYPD And Its Commissioner

Special To The Jewish Week

My father, of blessed memory, would have loved New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.  Commissioner Kelly is sensitive to the need to preserve and protect civil liberties, but he also recognizes that a society must first and foremost ensure the safety of its citizens.  My dad used to say that political correctness takes open mindedness to the extreme -- where people’s brains fall out and they stop thinking rationally.  He was also devoted to the safety of his family, which he taught me; being alert, observant and lucky.

William Rapfogel

Praying For Peace: A Rabbinical Student Reports On Rosh Hodesh At The Wall

Special To The Jewish Week

As I pushed through the jampacked Kotel on Rosh Hodesh Sivan, thousands of religious girls pointed at my kippa and screamed in my face. Not only did they stick out their tongues, but they made the shape of a gun with their hands and rotated between pointing it at their heads and pointing it at mine. Scanning through the faces of the young girls, I wondered if in a different setting, we could’ve been braiding challah or lighting Shabbat candles together as friends. Some of their eyes leaked with hatrid and disgust, while some overflowed with intrigue, curiosity, and at times boredom. A large portion of the girls seemed to be mulling about, happy to be spending time with friends, and waiting for us to leave.

Jenn Maggin

Empathizing With Rabbi Michael Broyde


When I was in seventh grade I ran for president of our community-wide youth investment club.  Investment clubs were common in the 1950s and `60s in the adult world, and parents encouraged their kids to learn the value of financial investing early.  What I learned from my experience in the club changed me, but not the way my folks intended.

Shabbat Service Here Highlights Israel-Diaspora Gap

Special To The Jewish Week

On a recent Friday night I went to a wonderfully inspiring religious service on a recent Friday night at Romemu on the Upper West Side.

Robbie Gringras

Of Burnt Brisket And Feminist Manifestos

Special To The Jewish Week

Here it is, almost Shavuot, with its dairy meals, and I am still fretting about my Passover brisket fiasco.

Francine Klagsbrun

Mission To Israel: A Workshop In Resilience And Hope

Special To The Jewish Week

We landed on the eve of Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. Two hundred New Yorkers on the UJA-Federation William Rosenwald Mission, a third of us never having been to Israel before.

Alisa R. Doctoroff
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