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The Jewish Day of Love, Tu B’Av

On July 30, we celebrate Tu B’Av, a day where love is in the air and singles hope to find their soulmate while couples celebrate their relationships. Although this “Jewish Valentine’s Day” is one of the lesser known Jewish holidays, it is still very relevant, especially in the Jewish community, as Tu B’av also happens to be a very popular date for weddings.

Back in the early days of Tu B’Av merriments, it was customary for single women to dance in open fields garbed in white dresses while eligible bachelors would flock to them and choose their bride. They also eloquently chanted “young men, look and observe well whom you are about to choose and do not set your eyes on beauty alone, but rather look for a virtuous family, for false is grace, and vain is beauty: a woman only that fears the Lord shall be praised.” Thus, encouraging the men to look beyond the fleeting surface features and more intently at substantial matters such as the type of home environment the woman would create and her commitment to Jewish morals. When the women declared “look for a virtuous family”, it demonstrates that incorporating family background into the decision of who to marry may help provide insight into the upbringing and values of the family. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention why this relates to the importance of genetic screening, as screening also provides insight into your own family background that you would have never known because most babies born with these diseases have no family history for that disease.)

It’s estimated that 80 percent of children with a serious genetic disease are born to parents with no known family history for the disease, making JScreen’s Jewish genetic screening important for anyone planning to start or grow their family.

With the hope of encouraging friends and family to tell the happy couple about the genetic screening, JScreen started a JGift program, allowing loved ones to cover the $99 cost of the test. “We’ve seen great success with the gift-card program, particularly among family members of newlyweds and people whose loved ones are nearing the age when they might begin trying to start a family,” said Karen Arnovitz Grinzaid, senior director for JScreen. “It’s a unique gift—one that tells the recipient that you care about them and you care about their future.”

To learn more, visit www.jscreen.org.

About Hillary Kener

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