Jacob Victor

Ashkenazim Prove Central in Pancreatic Cancer Study

Pancreatic cancer, an often fatal disorder affecting about 1% of the American population, is not usually considered a “Jewish” genetic disease, but researchers at the National Familial Pancreas Tumor Registry at Johns Hopkins University would beg to differ. The NFPTR operates a special sub-registry to specifically track pancreatic cancer patients and their relatives among the Ashkenazic Jewish community, and researchers at the registry are gradually making inroads in deciphering the disease’s genetic roots.

Two New Gaucher Meds on Horizon

Two new oral treatments for Gaucher disease, the most common of the Jewish genetic diseases, have reached Phase II clinical trials and could be on the market within the next few years. Two pharmaceutical companies, Genzyme and Amicus Therapeutics, are each developing their own oral drugs and have taken very different approaches to tackling the enzyme deficiency that is at the root of the disease.

Orthodox Pols’ Meeting Raises Ire in N.J.

A photograph that appeared in a local newspaper last month, depicting a meeting of mostly Orthodox New Jersey politicians, has sparked controversy in the suburb of Teaneck, heightening existing tensions between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox communities in the town of 39,000.

Hands-On Workshops Spice Up Classes

Every year, nursery school students at the Hebrew Academy of Morris County, a community day school in Randolph, N.J., put down their pencils and crayons and spend a few hours learning about Judaism in a more unusual way. Sometimes, they dive into bowls of flour and water and make homemade matzo, and other times they dip wicks into multicolored wax to make Havdalah candles.

Sherwin Wine, Founder of Humanistic Judaism

Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, a writer, scholar and community leader who founded the first congregation of Humanistic Judaism, died Saturday. He was 79.

Activists Up Efforts To Cut Circumcision Out of Bris Ritual

A few months before his son was born, Thomas Wolfe of Wheeling, W.Va., consulted the rabbi of his Reform congregation to discuss plans for the baby’s circumcision. “I had the perception that a circumcision was just an innocuous procedure, with no risk,” he later told the Forward. After the rabbi had recommended that Wolfe find a ritual circumciser, or mohel, to perform the newborn’s bris, Wolfe did a little Internet research. “It wasn’t really until that time that I became aware of all the controversies,” he said.

Moshe Decter, 85, Activist for Soviet Jewry

Moshe Decter, an activist and writer who was instrumental in raising world awareness about the plight of Soviet Jewry in the 1960s, died July 5 of congestive heart failure. He was 85.

‘Martyred’ Mouse Gets the Ax

The latest victim of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an oversized tuxedo-wearing mouse whose favorite pastimes included teaching basic reading, playing with his friends and trying to bring about a worldwide Islamist revolution.

Museum Draws Ire

Dozens of Holocaust survivors gathered Monday for a town hall meeting in Florida to voice their anger over the way a set of Holocaust archives is being handled by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Sounds of Summer

Israeli music has come a long way since the European-style folk songs and ballads that still make our grandparents dance. As Israeli society has integrated new ethnic groups and cultures, Israeli music has evolved into an eclectic combination of many different genres. No group better reflects this melting pot than the Idan Raichel Project, which performed last Sunday at New York’s SummerStage, in Central Park.