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Address: 1086 Teaneck Road Suite 3A
TEANECK, NJ. 07666
Phone: 866-474-2774
Languages Spoken: english

Sharsheret provides culturally sensitive support to young Jewish women who are newly diagnosed with breast cancer as well as to those facing the risk of developing breast cancer, and offers related resources for Jewish communities and health care organizations.

Sharsheret aims:

  • To provide tailored support and resources to young Jewish women facing breast cancer through a national peer support network.
  • To educate the health care community and the Jewish community about the unique concerns of Jewish women facing breast cancer through the presentation of medical symposia and outreach events.
  • To address the unique concerns of younger women facing breast cancer through programs that address their quality of life.

Sharsheret is a national organization of cancer survivors dedicated to addressing the unique concerns of young Jewish women facing breast cancer.  Sharsheret, Hebrew for "chain," was founded in 2001 by Rochelle Shoretz, a former Law Clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who recognized the need for a breast cancer organization that would provide culturally sensitive support for Jewish women after her own diagnosis at age 28.   Since the organization's founding, Sharsheret has responded to thousands of phone calls from health care professionals, Jewish organizations, women's organizations, women affected by breast cancer, their families, and friends.   Sharsheret's efforts to support young women and educate health care professionals have been recognized with prestigious awards and significant media coverage.  The organization has been featured in more than 75 publications and media outlets nationwide, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Self Magazine, and CBS News.

The concerns of pre-menopausal women facing breast cancer are unique. Young women are dating, marrying, having children, and raising children. Their cancers tend to be more aggressive, may result in early menopause, and are associated with higher mortality rates, yet breast cancer research studies often fail to include pre-menopausal women. Young Jewish women face additional concerns, including:

  • Genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations, found in 1 in 40 Ashkenazi women.
  • The role of Jewish spirituality in daily life with cancer and in healing.
  • Religious ritual affected by breast cancer treatment (i.e., wig-wearing and the use of the Mikvah/ritual bath post-surgery or during chemotherapy).
  • Cultural norms surrounding dating, marriage, and fertility.
  • Concerns for privacy in what can be a tight-knit community.

According to a 2001 assessment of the breast cancer needs of young women commissioned by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, "Young women need to be able to see and talk to young survivors in order to believe it's possible to survive breast cancer and they are not alone."  Information provided to young women "should be targeted; women need to perceive information as personally relevant to women in their age group and culture."  

Sharsheret's Link Program provides a culturally sensitive peer support network that targets the particular concerns of each caller in a program designed to accommodate the active lives of younger women.  Sharsheret's programs also provide an avenue for young survivors to shape their own difficult cancer experiences into empowering opportunities to support those diagnosed after them.  Sharsheret Outreach and Education Programs educate general breast cancer organizations about the concerns unique to Jewish women so that those organizations may better serve the needs of their Jewish patients.  Sharsheret is the only national organization addressing the concerns of Jewish women of all backgrounds fighting a disease that has significantly impacted Jewish women and men in ways Sharsheret will explore and address in the years ahead.