Talia Bloch

Bakashot Makes Unlikely Comeback as Sephardic Jews Explore Traditions

The singing of bakashot, which literally means “requests,” was once common practice among Sephardic Jews across the Middle East and North Africa, but it has waned in many communities over the past two generations.

Seeking A Cause: Professor Ana Maria Cuervo (right) with investigator Samantha J. Orenstein work at a cellular level to understand Parkinson?s.

A Common Mutation Behind Parkinson's Disease May Have Other Side-Effects

GENETICS 2013: A study published in March in Nature Neuroscience reported that mutations on the LRRK2 gene, responsible for approximately 15% of Parkinson’s among Ashkenazi Jews, leads to the malfunctioning of a disposal system in the cell that recycles old proteins.

Jewish Men in Middle of PSA Controversy

JEWISH GENETICS: Many Jewish men have a BRCA mutation, which is linked to prostate cancer risks. But is the PSA test risky?

New Technology Identifies Genes Behind Rare Eye Disorder

Scientists are using a revolutionary technique to pinpoint genetic problems that cause a rare eye disorder. It could transform treatments and prevent blindness.

Could Kashrut Be Partly To Blame for Crohn's Disease?

Jews are much more likely than others to contract Crohn’s disease, leading scientists to suspect a genetic link. Could kosher diet and an urban lifestyle be the real cause?

Gazing At The Sea And Art: Allen Grossman at Portbou on the Spanish- French border.

Limits of The Sacred, Limits of Representation

For Allen Grossman, a poet of prodigious gifts and the most recent winner of the prestigious Bollingen Prize in American Poetry, a successful poem does not merely give voice to human experience. It is an expression of human existence itself.

Investigators: Dr. Orly Elpeleg (above) and Dr. Joseph Gleeson (below) were on separate teams that published findings regarding a mutation that causes Joubert syndrome among Ashkenazi Jews.

Discovering the Newest Jewish Genetic Disease

One day, about four years ago, a young couple came to Dr. Alan Shanske’s office looking for help. They had already been to numerous doctors, but none of them was able to diagnose their 4-year-old son.

Raising Awareness: Rabbi Lawrence Sernovitz, pictured with his wife and son, urges rabbis to promote carrier screening.

Enlisting Rabbis in the Push for Screening

“My wife and I were married by two rabbis, one Conservative and the other Reform, and neither of them gave us any information about Jewish genetic diseases.” So begins the story of Lawrence Sernovitz, himself now an associate rabbi at the Old York Road Temple-Beth Am in Abington, Pa. A little more than a year later, in September 2008, Sernovitz and his wife had a baby boy born with familial dysautonomia, a rare recessive genetic disorder essentially found exclusively among Ashkenazi Jews.

The Other Jewish Genetic Diseases

Randall Belinfante was a bit baffled. When he and his wife went to take blood tests in preparation for starting a family in 2003, he discovered that the screening included a panel of tests for Ashkenazic Jewish genetic disorders. But Belinfante is Sephardic.

Something New: Timor Baasov has modified a highly toxic antibiotic so that it might be used to repair genetic mutations.

Israeli Scientist Adapts Antibiotic That May Fight Genetic Disease

A team of researchers in Israel has made a breakthrough in modifying an until-now highly toxic antibiotic so that it might one day be used to repair defective genes that cause diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Usher syndrome, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and even some cancers.