Dor Yeshorim School Screening Coming to L.A.
Dor Yeshorim’s premarital school screening program exemplifies its mission to ensure healthy generations for klal yisrael. It makes it quick, easy and affordable for boys and girls to be tested for recessive, genetic diseases which can be horrifically debilitating or even fatal.
We went behind the scenes with Dor Yeshorim’s Director of Development, Chaim Brown, to find out more about the organization.
Dor Yeshorim has become a rite of passage for boys and girls around the world entering shidduchim. How did the organization evolve?
It is bittersweet to note that Dor Yeshorim grew out of one father’s anguish. Rabbi Ekstein lost four children to Tay Sachs, a genetic disease that is no longer prevalent in the Jewish community thanks to Dor Yeshorim. He turned his pain and suffering into action. Now, 30-some years later, Dor Yeshorim has grown from a grassroots movement into a global genetics organization. It is practically unheard of for a shidduch to move forward without checking with Dor Yeshorim for genetic compatibility; the realization of Rabbi Ekstein’s mission to ensure healthy generations b’ezras Hashem.
Can you explain the basic premise, protocols, and policies for parents and young adults who have not yet encountered Dor Yeshorim?
The beauty of the system is its simplicity. Blood samples are taken and a unique Dor Yeshorim ID number is given to each participant. The samples are sent to our affiliate laboratories for analysis, and results entered into our database. Redundant security checks ensure the accuracy of all data. When a shidduch is suggested, each side calls in to check compatibility. Confidentiality is paramount; no names or identifying information are ever exchanged. Within a couple of business hours, a representative calls the number on file to confirm whether or not a match is compatible. Compatibly checks are free and limitless.
To what do you attribute the success of the Dor Yeshorim program?
As Rabbi Ekstein always says, “Only siyata d’shmaya.” Our mission has been the same since day one. We are here to help protect klal yisrael from the pain and anguish of having children born with recessive genetic diseases. We take our responsibility very seriously, and this fuels our commitment to remain at the forefront of genetic research and development.
Everything we do is guided by rabbinical and medical authorities of the highest caliber. One of the most integral aspects of our success – and the reason we are respected and endorsed by communities across the spectrum – is the confidentiality of the system which avoids any potential stigma associated with being labeled a carrier. Our mass screening and school screening events makes it easy and affordable for everyone to get tested before starting shidduchim. This is pivotal! And our automated system makes it simple and quick to check compatibility.
Is Dor Yeshorim solely a genetic compatibility testing program?
Not at all! Most people have no idea just how major a role Dor Yeshorim plays in the field of genetics. Dor Yeshorim conducts ongoing research into identifying disease causing genetic mutations and developing accurate, reliable testing. We invest hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to study the ramification of diseases and evaluate whether or not they should and can be added to the testing panels. The results are groundbreaking. In fact, Dor Yeshorim is often called upon to provide its expertise to for genetic research around the world. Thanks to our ongoing research, we recently added a Sephardic testing panel that includes many diseases prevalent in the Sephardi, Mizrahi, Assyrian, Persian, and Iranian communities.
We also provide extensive counseling, guidance and specialized testing to families struggling with genetic disease. Our goal is to do all we can to protect everyone in klal yisrael from giving birth to a child with a recessive genetic disease.
What would you consider the most important aspect for parents to know?
Take advantage of the mass school screenings when they come to your area. Make sure your children are tested before they enter shidduchim and check compatibility early on in the shidduch process! This saves time, expense and potential heartache.
Dor Yeshorim will be conduction mass school/yeshiva screenings on Monday and Tuesday, February 14th and 15th at:
- Bais Toras Menachem
- Bais Yaakov
- Bnos Esther
- Bnos Devorah
- Hebrew Academy-Chabad
- Mesivta Birchas Yitzchok
- Mesivta of Los Angeles
- Ohel Chana
- Valley Torah
- Yeshiva Gedola
For more information, please contact Dor Yeshorim’s main office at 718-384-6060 or visit us at www.doryeshorim.org