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Idit Klein

She Didn’t Want Jewish Women to Feel Alone with Breast Cancer: Remembering Rochelle Shoretz

Idit Klein and Rochelle Shoretz

Idit Klein and Rochelle Shoretz

At age 28, Rochelle Shoretz was serving as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and was married with two young boys. She had also been diagnosed with breast cancer. While undergoing chemotherapy, she founded Sharsheret [“chain” in Hebrew], an organization with the mission of supporting young Jewish women with breast cancer. The isolation she felt inspired her to found an organization with this singular purpose.

While one in every 400 women in the general population carries the BRCA genetic mutation that triggers breast and ovarian cancers, in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, one in every 40 women carries it.

In the last few years of her life, when her cancer returned, she talked about “the strength that comes with living with a sharpened sense of time.” She ran marathons, traveled to South Africa, went white-water rafting, served on federal commissions, and inspired audiences of thousands. She was proud to be unapologetically Jewish and feminist. 


Idit Klein, from “We Remember Rochelle Shoretz,” jwa.org.