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The JC Leader: Jnetics in need...Adding balance

The Jewish Chronicle Leader column, September 8, 2017

    Jnetics in need

    Last November, we devoted an issue to highlighting genetic screening — and our community’s lamentable record in funding such a programme. When two carriers of the same recessive condition have a child, there is a one-in-four risk of the child being affected.

    With one in five Ashkenazi Jews a carrier of at least one severe recessive genetic disorder, that means thousands of Jewish couples are at risk of having a child with a genetic disease which may be preventable.

    Partly as a result of our coverage, Jnetics has been able to increase its education and screening programme in Jewish schools, and has plans to do even more. But, although there have been some generous donations, much more is needed.

    These diseases could effectively be eliminated, but this year alone it will cost £250,000 for the schools programme and another £100,000 is needed to pay for it.

    Simply standing still requires further donations urgently — but if Jnetics is to deliver the bigger scheme that could begin to eliminate the pain and suffering of genetic disease it needs to raise £450,000 a year. There are few greater or more sensible priorities.

    Adding balance

    The new production of My Name Is Rachel Corrie at the Young Vic later this month is, to put it mildly, controversial. The play is tendentious, biased and misleading. But it is happening, and the issue is how to respond. In which vein,

    Rona Hart’s idea of a matching exhibition of Jewish women called Rachel killed in Israel by terrorists is inspired. If the Young Vic wants to show that it is more interested in a genuine exploration of the issues than acting as a stage for propaganda, it will embrace the idea.

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