Moishe House, Sharsheret Urge Young People to Focus on Jewish Cancer Risks

PHOTO: Pink Shabbatluck at the Moishe House in Sydney, Australia, Feb16, 2018.

The world’s largest peer-led program for post-college-age Jews is teaming up with the leading organization for Jewish cancer education to get young Jews thinking about inherited risks of breast, ovarian and other cancers.

Moishe House and Sharsheret are collaborating on a nation-wide effort in February, by providing North American Moishe Houses with tool kits to lead Shabbat discussions and other programs that raise awareness of Jewish genetic mutations for breast cancer, ovarian cancer and other cancers. For details, visit:

To get younger Jews talking about the importance of learning one’s genetic history regarding cancer, and to plan health protection strategies, Moishe House and Sharsheret are focusing on communal events like Shabbat dinners and challah bakes, though houses are free to create their own events. Pink Shabbats will focus on breast and Teal Shabbats will cover ovarian cancer.

Studies have shown that one in 40 Ashkenazi Jewish women who carry the BRCA gene mutation are at increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Each year, approximately 70,000 men and women ages 15 to 39 are diagnosed with cancer in the US. Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in this age group.

“These are important health issues for our community to be talking about, and to do it in a low-barrier place like a Moishe House will help Jewish young adults better understand how this could affect them,” said Moishe House CEO David Cygielman.

“Our collaboration with Moishe House is critical in helping us educate young adults in the Jewish community about their increased risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer,” said Sharsheret Executive Director Elana Silber. “The earlier we can reach this demographic, the better they can set themselves up to safeguard their health and their future by asking the right questions to their doctors and staying on top of their breast health, which can ultimately help save lives.”

This is the ninth year the organizations have collaborated on raising genetic cancer awareness. Last year, 20 Moishe Houses across North America and one in Sydney, Australia participated.

Since its founding with a single house and four people who hosted Shabbat dinners in Oakland, CA, in 2006, the number of Moishe Houses have multiplied worldwide to 107 and counting, with demand booming for peer-led Jewish homes and programs. In 2018, Moishe House is projected to host over 62,000 young adults attending more than 11,000 programs worldwide.

Each Moishe House enables three to five post-college Jewish 20-something professionals to live in a rent-subsidized home while dedicating free time each month to hosting meaningful Jewish experiences for their peers, or about 60 programs annually. In the process, the Moishe House residents join an international network of young Jewish leaders in 25+ countries around the world.

(The California Regional Director of Sharsheret Jenna Fields will be in Portland March 4 to present two programs about genetics and cancer. For more information, contact the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland at 503-245-6219).


Moishe House is a program for young Jewish adults that creates meaningful, welcoming communities for themselves and their peers in a post-college world. Three to five 20-something residents live together and host ongoing events for their peers. Each year, the 100+ Moishe Houses around the globe hold more than 11,000+ programs for 60,000+ unique participants. Moishe House welcomes people from all Jewish backgrounds and is supported by organizations, individuals and the young adult participants themselves. To find out more about Moishe House, visit


Sharsheret, Hebrew for chain, a national cancer organization with five offices (California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York), serves 120,000 women, families, health care professionals, community leaders and students, in all 50 states. Sharsheret creates a safe community for women facing breast cancer and ovarian cancer and their families at every stage of life and at every stage of cancer – from before diagnosis, during treatment and into the survivorship years. While our expertise is focused on young women and Jewish families, more than 15% of those we serve are not Jewish. All Sharsheret programs serve women and men. For more information, visit us online at or call us at 866-474-2774.

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