JScreen Launches Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week Feb 3 – 7

February 3, 2020


Contact:  Jason Edelstein


JScreen Launches Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week Feb 3 – 7
The Week Will Highlight Powerful Stories, Timely Information, and Resources to Help Raise Awareness of the Importance of Genetic Screening

Atlanta – A proclamation is being passed in the Georgia State Legislature for “Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week.” JScreen, a national non-profit public health initiative dedicated to preventing Jewish genetic diseases, today announced plans for the first-ever Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week (JGSAW), taking place February 3 – February 7, 2020. With organizational partners across the country, JGSAW will focus on powerful stories, timely information, and resources to help raise awareness about the importance of screening for Jewish genetic diseases.

“We know that education and awareness are essential in the journey toward ensuring our health and the health of our families,” said Karen Arnovitz Grinzaid, Executive Director of JScreen. “Each day during JGSAW, along with our committed partners, we will share resources and real-life stories highlighting both the need for and ease of a simple saliva test for screening.  We are hopeful that this increased awareness will lead more families to #getJScreened.” 

JScreen’s partners in JGSAW include Honeymoon Israel, Hillel, and Interfaith Family

“This week is a call to action for screening, for yourself, for your friends and family” said Mike Wilensky, State Representative of Georgia HD79, who introduced the proclamation declaring Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week. “We are thrilled to highlight JScreen’s honorable efforts to help people take charge of their health and that of their children. Knowledge truly is power.”

JGSAW will focus on a specific theme each day:

Monday, Feb. 3: More than just Tay-Sachs.  While Tay-Sachs is certainly the most well-known Jewish genetic disease, JScreen tests for hundreds of other diseases that can be devastating for families.  Knowledge is power; and knowing this information through reproductive carrier screening prior to pregnancy is important for family planning.  

Tuesday, Feb. 4: College Students: The farthest thing from many college students’ minds is having a baby. However, JScreen’s simple, quick and easy reproductive carrier screening test provides information that is important for future family planning. For this reason, JScreen often hosts discounted screenings at colleges and universities throughout the country.
**Screening event Feb. 4 at Yeshiva University Wilf Campus; Furst Hall room 501; Time: 12-4pm Price: $54 for first 150 students to pre-register 

Wednesday, Feb. 5: BRCA Awareness: Ashkenazi Jews are at ten times greater risk to have a mutation in the BRCA genes, increasing their risk for breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer. BRCA screening can provide life-saving information.  

Thursday, Feb. 6: Sephardi Community: It’s commonly thought that carrier testing for family planning is solely for Ashkenazi Jews. In fact, Jews of all backgrounds are at risk and should be screened, including those with Sephardi and Mizrahi ancestry (such as Persians, Syrians, and Bukharians).

Friday, Feb. 7: Interfaith couples: While there are a number of diseases that are commonly found in people with Jewish background, these diseases also occur in the general population. For this reason, screening is important and informative for Jewish and interfaith couples. Pan-ethnic screening panels, like the one offered by JScreen, include diseases common across ethnicities.  

During JGSAW, JScreen is offering a $36 off discount code for reproductive carrier screening with coupon JGSAW.

“We hope that our efforts to raise awareness about the simple spit test that can be performed to provide genetic screening information will help people make the important decision to #getJScreened,” added Grinzaid.


For more information, please visit www.jscreen.org.  


Proclamation Declaring Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week

Senate Resolution

By: Michael Wilensky



Designating the week of February 3rd as Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week in Georgia; and for other purposes. 

WHEREAS, everyone is a carrier for a number of genetic diseases, and there are certain genetic diseases that are more common in certain ethnicities.

WHEREAS, Jewish people are among the ethnic groups at high-risk for certain genetic diseases, some of which cause early death or severely debilitating symptoms. Non-Jewish people can also be carriers of these and other genetic diseases.

WHEREAS, genetic screening is recommended for any couple thinking of starting or expanding their family.

WHEREAS, carriers are healthy individuals who unknowingly have a mutation in a disease gene. They do not have symptoms, thus the only way they can know if they are a carrier is to get tested or to have an affected child. 

WHEREAS, carrier couples have a twenty-five percent risk, with each pregnancy, of having a child affected by the genetic disease they both carry. 

WHEREAS, many couples are only offered genetic testing once they are already pregnant and for a limited number of diseases. Educating the community about the importance of comprehensive pre-conception screening is essential to afford couples more options to plan ahead.

WHEREAS, Jewish people are also at higher risk to have mutations in genes (e.g. BRCA) that increase the risk for certain cancers, and knowing those risks can be lifesaving.

WHEREAS, genetic screening is now easily accessible to those in Georgia and nationwide via at-home screening on saliva. 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA that the week of February 3rd shall be set aside and officially designated as Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week in Georgia. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of the Senate is authorized and directed to make appropriate copies of this resolution available for distribution to the public and the press. 


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JScreen is a non-profit community-based public health initiative dedicated to preventing Jewish genetic diseases. Headquartered in Atlanta at Emory University School of Medicine, the JScreen initiative is a collaboration among clinical geneticists, socially-minded businesses, and non-profits to provide everyday people with a ready access point to cutting-edge genetic testing technology, patient education and genetic counseling services. JScreen believes the combination of education, access to premier gene screening technologies and personalized, confidential support are the keys to preventing these devastating diseases.

Headquartered in Atlanta at Emory University’s Department of Human Genetics, JScreen is a national non-profit offering at-home comprehensive and affordable genetic testing and counseling.

ReproGEN – determines risk for having a child with a genetic disease

CancerGEN – tests for genetic changes that increase risk for many types of cancer

If a person or couples’ risk is elevated, genetic counselors will privately address the results, options and resources to help plan for a healthy future.

JScreen believes that a combination of education, access to state-of-the-art testing technology, and personalized support by qualified medical professionals are key to preventing devastating genetic diseases.