Temple Emunah Fair Offers Information on Areas from ADD to Yoga


Dawny Gershkowitz


ADD?  Cancer?  Depression?  There’s more to wellness than diet and exercise.

And the two hundred people at Temple Emunah Sisterhood’s Health and Wellness Fair in Lexington on January 8 not only got information about health food choices and numerous exercise options, they also received potentially life-saving information, often focused specifically on the Jewish population, as well as samples, treatments, and coupons.

Available information covered Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); revised recommendations for pap smears; cancer risk, support and screening guidelines; assistance for dealing with depression; and even midwifery. In addition, there were vendors of healthy foods and fitness opportunities, treatments from Eastern Sun Acupuncture, massages, a chance to learn about soft tissue chiropractic treatment from Mui Chiropractic, and Senior Wellness from CJP Senior Direct, and more.

Valuable Health Information and Support

Ashkenazi Jewish men and women are nine times more likely to carry a mutated cancer-causing gene.  The chance that they will have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation that causes breast or ovarian cancer is 1/40 compared to the general population risk of 1/350. 

Mass General Hospital Cancer Center worked alongside Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE ), an advocacy and support organization, to provide potential life-saving information.   They recommend genetic testing for men and women if there is a family history of:

–       someone under 45 with breast or ovarian cancer;

–       two or more people on the same side of the family with either cancer.

Sharsheret is an invaluable resource for pre-menopausal Jewish women facing cancer.  Cancer in young women is often more aggressive but the research is not as thorough.  These women may be dating, looking ahead to marriage, raising young families.  They may struggle to adhere to religious law, which poses additional concerns—about modesty, from head covering to hospital gowns; tattooing done as part of breast reconstruction or radiation; questions of returning to the mikveh after surgery or chemo.  Shasheret is a unique source of support and assistance.

The Jewish Birth Network, organized by Rabbi Shira Shazeer, focuses on helping parents-to-be and young families bring Judaism into their changing lives.  “New parents are looking for new, renewed or reworked connections to Jewish community.  JBN is about new families finding their way into the next phase of connection.

Dr. Alison Dick, Lahey Clinic gynecologist, provided information on the recently updated recommendations for women’s health testing.  “After 30, women should have a Human papillomavirus (HPV) test and pap snear,.  If the HPV is negative and the pap smear is normal,  women do not need to be retested for 3 years.”  She noted that pap smears need not begin before 21.

Families for Depression Awareness supports those coping with a suicide or a loved one with depression, and strives to remove the stigma of seeking help.  “The three types of depression affect not just individuals, but all those who care for them,” said Katie McLaughlin.  “Strides Against Stigma on April 28, will raise awareness and work to remove the shame of seeking help.”

Midwife Esther Hausman noted that midwives do more than ‘catch babies’.   “A certified nurse midwife, like an ob-gyn nurse-practitioner,” she said. “Their training and licensing makes it possible for them to treat women throughout their lives.”

In all more than forty vendors and practitioners were available, and guests had the chance to learn about everything from ADD to yoga.  “We wanted to offer an easy first step to keeping that New Year resolution,” said organizer Stephanie Buckler.

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