As Sephardim Embrace Genetic Testing, Dor Yeshorim Stands Ready
Harav Yitzchak Yosef, Rishon L’Tzion of Israel, has recently announced that he urges all young Sephardim to go for genetic testing before finalizing their shidduchim with a vort. In his discourse, Harav Yosef referred to a former colleague from his yeshiva days, who “till this very day suffers the consequences of not having genetic tests done.”
Dor Yeshorim, the preeminent genetic screening organization for the Jewish community, initially geared its testing toward the Ashkenzic population. As time went on, Dor Yeshorim included testing for specific mutations of commonly Ashkenazic diseases that can be found in Sephardic populations. Recently, in addition to the standard panel of testing, a supplementary panel that screens for 13 genetic diseases prevalent in the Sephardic community was made available. The Sephardi panel of tests are currently administered upon request.
A few other Sephardic genetic diseases exist that have thus far not been included in any of the test panels. Dor Yeshorim researchers are presently researching these diseases and are working to develop reliable screening methods so they may be included at some future date in standard tests. (As a non-profit organization, the advancement of Dor Yeshorim’s research depends largely on community support.)
While there are numerous options available in the 21st century for people who seek genetic testing, Dor Yeshorim is the only organization conducting testing on a massive scale throughout the Jewish community worldwide, with screenings done in hundreds of high schools and yeshivos and the resulting data centralized in one database. The use of a unique, confidential numbering system means the absolute privacy of all participants is guaranteed, and rabbinic guidance ensures that every aspect of the process is carried out in Torah-true fashion.
To date, Dor Yeshorim can boast an unparalleled accuracy rate in its testing for genetic compatibility. In fact, Dor Yeshorim has been so successful in avoiding many genetic incompatibilities that one New York hospital, which used to maintain a ward dedicated to Tay-Sachs patients, has since closed it down for lack of admissions.
While best known for premarital genetic screening, Dor Yeshorim’s services extend well beyond. If a child is born with a rare genetic-based disease, r”l, Dor Yeshorim will help his parents with guidance and medical referrals. The Dor Yeshorim staff, in collaboration with medical professionals, will painstakingly identify the genetic mutation in question, and work to develop case-specific screening methods to prevent the reoccurrence of the disease in the family.
Always at the forefront of its field, Dor Yeshorim constantly invests in research in genetic diseases that affect the Jewish community, developing ever-more extensive and reliable ways to prevent the occurrence of fatal or debilitating conditions. With the Sephardic community now encouraging its young people to undergo screenings, Dor Yeshorim can expect to amass an even greater volume and variety of valuable information. Even more importantly, the Sephardic community will henceforth be better equipped to prevent the occurrence of tragic diseases.
For further information, contact Dor Yeshorim at 718-384-6060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.