Society of Healers to host guest speaker on Jewish genetics

 

BY ERIN COHEN
Society of Healers Division

 

            On Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10:30 a.m., the Federation's Society of Healers division will host, Jon Entine, television news producer and pioneering author on the DNA of Jewish history and identity. Recent DNA research and genetic studies offer extraordinary insight into the origins of the Jewish people and its impact on all of us. His talk, 'Abraham’s Children: The DNA of the Jewish People,' digs into his fascinating research and will explain among other things, how the study of Jewish genetics is making major inroads in medicine.
            “It’s literally saving thousands of lives around the world,” Entine said. “There are some 40 known Jewish diseases, disorders that originated in single Jews and then spread throughout Jewish communities," he added. "You can inherit some genetic disorders from either a mother or father—the breast cancer mutations are examples, but many diseases, such as Tay-Sachs, result from the virulent combination of mutations carried by both.”

            'Abraham's Children', was featured on the cover of Reform Judaism magazine and profiled on a Jewish Life Television report viewed on YouTube more than 500,000 times.

            “With recent advances in genetics, we now know that grouping people by race, making distinctions by such superficial characteristics as skin color, is a very simplistic and misleading way of describing human diversity," he went onto say. "Today, geneticists use the terms 'ancestry' or 'populations' when describing how groups of people have evolved. Scientists today allow for a much more complex understanding of human differences, studying distinctive 'populations', which have different body types, disease proclivities, and even behaviors. Because of their cohesive history, Jews are considered a genetic goldmine.”
            Entine is the Director of the Genetic Literacy Project at George Mason University. He is a think-tank scholar with an expertise in ancestry, genetics, Jewish history and Jewish identity. He is the author of seven books, including 'Abraham's Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People', which examines in a dramatic, literary fashion the history of the Jewish people and our deep ancestral connection to modern Israel through the prism of DNA. His acclaimed bestseller, 'Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate History and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It', addresses the Jewish domination of basketball in the first half of the 20th century.

            Before his recent literary success, Entine spent 20 years as a network TV news producer at the three major U.S. networks, winning 20 journalism honors, including a National Press Club Award and Emmys for specials about the Reform movements in China and the Soviet Union. He served as Tom Brokaw's long-time producer at NBC News and executive in charge of documentaries, and was a producer with ABC 20/20 and Primetime. He draws on his production skills as a former television news executive in his presentations on a range of issues, including the DNA of Jewish History, Jewish Diseases, Jewish Achievement and Jewish views on sustainability.

            The new Society of Healers co-chairs, Dr. Dina and Dr. Howard Fetner invite you to join them for what is sure to be an incredible learning opportunity. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from Jon Entine, an expert on Jewish history, ancestry, and DNA," they said. "This is an exceptional chance to better understand the science behind genetic disease and Jewish ancestry-- a fascinating and important topic.”
            Dr. Ronald and Joan Levin have graciously partnered with the Federation to bring Jon Entine to Jacksonville and we thank them for their generosity and their desire to bring greater awareness to this research. The brunch and program will be held at Epping Forest Yacht & Country Club and there will be an $18 ticket fee to attend this event. Registration and payment in advance of the event is appreciated. To RSVP call 904-448-5000, ext. 209 or go to jewishjacksonville.org/jonentine.
           For more information about this event or get involved with the Society of Healers division, contact Erin Cohen at 904-448-5000, ext. 205 or erinc@jewishjacksonville.org.