Plus

Angelina Jolie

What was Jewish about Angelina Jolie’s decision to have her breasts surgically removed? Everything.

The Hollywood superstar stunned million of fans with the stark and eloquent announcement that she had chosen to proactively undergo the procedure to reduce her risk of contracting breast cancer. Jolie, whose mother died from breast cancer, explained that she took the dramatic step after discovering she carries the BRCA gene mutation, which is disproportionately prevalent in Ashkenazi Jews.

It’s a wrenching choice for any woman, as thousands of Jewish families have discovered firsthand. It may be even tougher for the willowy Jolie, 38, whose acting ability and jaw-dropping beauty have earned her an enviable livelihood.

Jolie, who has made headlines for her A-list partnership to Brad Pitt and their growing brood of mostly adopted children, could have kept quiet about what is surely the most personal of choices. Instead, she enriched the debate about breast cancer and the conversation surrounding the burden that many Jewish women bear because of the BRCA mutation.

Within days, doctors reported dramatic increases in numbers of women seeking testing for the dreaded mutation. Others asked what they could do to inform friends or synagogue members about their potential ticking time bombs. The news inspired Jewish activists to pursue what turned out to be a winning Supreme Court battle against a biotech company’s effort to patent the mutated gene.

Call it a Jewish teachable moment, courtesy of one of the most beautiful women on the planet.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.