History & Achievements
Just thirty years ago, genetic diseases plagued the Jewish community; bringing unbearable suffering and heartache to families across the spectrum. The scourge of Tay Sachs was particularly devastating.
Dor Yeshorim was born from one man’s indescribable grief and heartache as he helplessly watched four beautiful children die of Tay-Sachs. Determined to ensure that no parent would ever endure the agony of losing a child to this devastating genetic disease, Rabbi Josef Ekstein galvanized a grass roots organization to eradicate Tay-Sachs forever.
Using his hard earned knowledge and insights, Rabbi Ekstein and his colleagues arrived at a brilliantly simple yet hitherto unheard of solution: a confidential premarital testing system to screen for the gene responsible for the disease.
Though simple in theory, garnering rabbinical and communal support for the actualization of his groundbreaking idea took tremendous time, energy and convincing. Rabbi Ekstein faced an uphill battle; swimming against the tide during an era when understanding, acknowledging and acceptance of the seditious nature of genetic diseases was not an openly recognized concept. Rabbi Ekstein persevered. Today, Dor Yeshorim is a globally acclaimed organization, standing at the forefront of genetic research and advances. Dor Yeshorim is credited with singlehandedly eradicating Tay Sachs from the Jewish community and effectively closing the Tay Sachs ward at Kingsbrook Medical center forever.
Since its inception in 1983, Dor Yeshorim’s efforts to prevent fatal and debilitating genetic diseases remain ongoing and relentless. Following intense research it has expanded its testing panel to include additional genetic recessive disorders such as Cystic Fibrosis, Familial Dysautonomia, Canavan Disease and many more. Dor Yeshorim is a household name, operating in Eleven countries including the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel; supported and endorsed by leading rabbinical authorities and medical experts the world over.
World class Expertise
Over the years, the Dor Yeshorim system has gained incomparable global acclaim as a sophisticated scientific enterprise, leading the way in genetic research and technological advances. The scope and magnitude of Dor Yeshorim’s work is evidenced in our pivotal contributions to the global field of genetic research.
Dor Yeshorim has been lauded in numerous newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report and London’s New Scientist. Rabbi Josef Ekstein, Executive Director, has been interviewed by CNN, NBC, CBS and the BBC. He is the lead author or coauthor of breakthrough papers published in major medical journals. Rabbi Ekstein and his colleagues —renowned geneticists, neurologists and researchers — continue to report vital new findings in genetic testing and the prevention and treatment of genetic diseases.
At a meeting at the National Institutes of Health in 2001 its unique and incredibly successful program was praised by both the acting Director of the NIH and the Director of the Human Genome Project. Dor Yeshorim and Rabbi Josef Ekstein, Founder and Executive Director, were the recipients of the 1996 Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award.
Dor Yeshorim is guided by a rabbinical council comprised of prominent Rabbonim. All decisions are made and new programs implemented in conjunction with the medical expertise and input of leading geneticists.