Cancer, “One out of every forty-three Jewish people carries a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene… as opposed to the BRCA frequency of approximately one in six hundred non-Jews.”  (quoted from Resurrection Lily) 

A reader of this blog recommended I read, Mah Jongg Mondays by Fern Bernstein (2019). 

Since I actually do play Mah Jongg on Mondays it seemed like a good fit. This is the kind of book that makes me think I could write a book and publish it. It’s a memoir of a Long Island woman who was born in the 1960’s, just like me. I related to so many things in her life including being active in synagogue leadership and even having a father named Elliott.     Reading the book is like chatting in the kitchen with a neighbor, it is not smooth and professional but I loved it. Every hero needs a villain and in Mah Jongg Mondays the villain is cancer. Cancer touches the lives of the women around the Mah Jongg table. Some will beat it, others will succumb to it. Everything else in the author’s life is so positive and so detailed that on a rating scale of zero to five matzo balls I can only give it two matzo balls for writing but it gets all 5 matzo balls for relatable Jewish content. 

Amy Byer Shainman also writes a memoir about cancer. Her’s is much more professional. Resurrection Lily: The BRCA gene, hereditary cancer & lifesaving whispers from the Grandmother I never knew. A Memoir  (2018), is both the story of one family’s cancer saga and information about breast and ovarian cancer.  The author feels a connection to her grandmother Lillian, who died at just 33 years old of cancer. The author becomes a “previvor” after learning through genetic testing that her chances of having cancer are 85%. By reading this book, I gained a lot of knowledge about genetic counseling, third opinions, and the importance of medical information for both men and women.  Shainman is an advocate and documentary filmmaker who knows how to write. If there is cancer in your family then read this book. This books gets 5 matzo balls for writing; the Jewish content in this book is in the genes not in the soul. 

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