Jewish Journal

Your Letters

Posted on Feb. 7, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Familial Dysautonomia

Ellen Jaffe-Gill's article ("No News Is Bad News," Jan. 25) well-defined the symptoms of familial dysautonomia (FD), and it certainly let readers know about efforts made to make genetic testing available in the Los Angeles Jewish community. However, there is so much more information about FD that is good news.

The Dysautonomia Foundation, a New York nonprofit started in the early 1950s by parents of children with FD, has been the springboard for research and discovery of the gene in January 2001, and its efforts and successes have also been focused on a diagnostic treatment and evaluation center at New York University Medical Center. The Foundation also funds a satellite evaluation and treatment center at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

The Foundation provides counseling to families seeking support for a newly diagnosed child, and also provides information on other closely related Jewish genetic illnesses.

Should you have a family member or friend that displays FD symptoms, please contact Dr. Felicia Axelrod through the Dysautonomia Foundation at (212) 949-6644. If you or a friend are interested in genetic testing information, please contact Elsa Reich at the NYU Hospital Genetic Counseling Center at (212) 263-5746.

Anne Rainer , President Dysautonomia Foundation Southern California Chapter

We thank both Ellen Jaffe-Gill and the editor for helping us inform our extended Jewish family about familial dysautonomia (FD), the carrier tests available and the urgent need for research funding to save the lives of the children with FD.

The FD Hope e-mail address listed has been changed to: mavls.al@verizon.net.

We hope the entire Jewish community will join us in urgently working for a cure, which the scientists believe will be possible within the next five to 10 years.

Mavis Feinberg, Southern California Representative Familial Dysautonomia Hope


Knowing how seriously the editors take The Jewish Journal's role in fostering Jewish identity and continuity, we were shocked that you would permit a writer to trash the Stu & Lew Productions' Schmooz-A-Palooza on the basis of first-time jitters and personal bias. Especially, when the goals of the event are in sync with those of your publication. ("Schmoozapalosers," Dec. 21).

When a day doesn't go by in December that we're not inundated with Christmas cheer, Dec. 24 is the perfect night for Jews to gather -- if only to connect, have fun and be proud that we're Jewish. It was clear that many did not agree with Ms. Davis's sentiments, as the House of Blues was packed for the eighth year in a row. We're disappointed that Davis did not do her due diligence, and call us to discuss her one experience. We could have put her in touch with some of the thousands who have had an amazing time at our events, made everlasting friendships, as well as met potential mates. And, of course, the dozens upon dozens of couples that have ended up under the chuppah as a result of Stu & Lew Productions. We can't be all that bad, can we?

Lewis Weinger and Stuart Wax Stu & Lew Productions

Ritual Slaughter

It is likely true that part of the reason behind the drafting of the original Swiss law against shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter), as well as some of the current outcry against its repeal, are due to anti-Semitic sentiment ("Swiss Attack Jewish Ritual," Jan. 11). However, honest Jews must stop hiding behind the excuse of anti-Semitism to defend a ritual that has been scientifically documented to be less humane than modern slaughter methods.

As a Conservative Jew who sends his children to Jewish schools and has strong ties to the Jewish community, it pains me to see the ignorance with which this subject is approached. I am certain that shechita was the least painful method of slaughter hundreds of years ago. It is undeniably not now.

We are wrong to defend it on any grounds other than pure religious doctrine. It is degrading to all of us to label as anti-Semitic every group with which we disagree.

Alexander Werner, Sunland

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