There so many subjects that I could write about this week: 20 years since Itzhak Rabin was murdered, America’s main modern Orthodox rabbinical association voted last week to ban women clergy, the mitzvah day in the end of the month, the projects that ITJ class are doing, very exciting and great subjects to talk about, but I want to write about different issue.
I had an opportunity to read an article from Israel by Shoshana Jaskoll and she talks about the breast cancer awareness. In her article she writes that the death rate among Israeli haredi women from breast cancer is 30% higher in the general population. This, despite the fact that the rate of haredi women diagnosed with breast cancer was 70% lower than secular women, according to various studies.
In haredi society, speaking of breasts and other female body parts is immodest. So they aren’t spoken about. This means that haredi women have fewer breast exams, and mammograms are not routinely done, and therefore too many women do not learn that they are ill until they are dying.
This is very disturbing information, as we are living in the 21 century and it shouldn’t be even an issue to discuss. Lately I have had to face many women who were diagnosed with different types of cancer, their families and their children. My very good friend’s mom is in a very serious condition of stage 4 cancer, because there were no signs… no one thought to go and check. We are always busy running around to do other very important things. We, as women and mothers simply do not allow ourselves to take time and go for a check- up. It has to change.
Wishing you a peaceful weekend. Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Julia Margolis