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Our Heritage and our Health – Ashkenazi Jewish Genetics Disease and the Founder Effect

Sunday, August 15, 2021 7 Elul 5781

6:00 PM - 7:30 PMVirtual on Zoom

Why are Ashkenazi Jews more likely to inherit certain genetic conditions?

The Founder Effect following the fall of the Second Temple (70 CE) and population bottlenecks in the 10th through 13th centuries are probably responsible for the significant increased incidence of certain disorders in our population.  Many inhabitants of the shtetl were related to each other.  In fact 42% of modern Ashkenazi Jews are actually descended from one of four women.  

Many Ashkenazim didn’t even have last names until the mid- 1800s when we were advised by Napoleon II and the King of Poland to take last names.

The purpose of this program is to provide up-to-date information on the genetic conditions which occur more frequently in Jews of Ashkenazi descent.  Each of these disorders can be devastating, not only to those affected, but to the families involved.  This program will explore the Ashkenazi Jewish Genetic conditions with a focus on the most common Jewish Genetic disorder – Gaucher disease.  More than 9 out of 10 Jewish Americans are unaware of Gaucher disease. Approximately one in 850 Ashkenazi people may have Gaucher, and the carrier rate is approximately 1 in 16.  Gaucher disease is two and a half times more common than Tay-Sachs. 
The objectives of the program are as follows:
1.   To learn about “The Founder Effect” among the Ashkenazim.
2.   To gain knowledge about the eleven genetic conditions among the Ashkenazim.
3.   To understand the signs and symptoms of Gaucher the most common Ashkenazi Jewish disease.

Registration is requested, below. Zoom link will be provided upon registration.


Guest speaker,  Gary S. Frohlich, MS, CGC, is a graduate of New York University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology in 1972.  He was awarded a scholarship from the National Foundation March of Dimes to attend graduate school in Human Genetics and Genetics Counseling earning his Master’s degree from Rutgers University in 1973.    Gary began as a Prenatal Genetics Counselor with Genzyme Genetics in 1993 and currently holds the title of Executive Patient Education Liaison with Sanofi Genzyme working with patients & families with rare genetic disease.  Gary conceived, developed and began providing an educational program: Our Heritage and Our Health. Gary has presented the OHOH program in every region in the US.  He has presented the OHOH program hundreds of times. 


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