While Jewish Fertility Foundation medical committee chairman Daniel Shapiro is working on a systematic approach to changing the medical conversation about fertility, the foundation (launched late in 2015) is meeting its goals of educating Atlanta Jewish leaders about infertility and providing support to people dealing with infertility.
“Our dedicated board of directors and committee members have been working hard putting all of our ducks in a row so that we are ready to begin allocating grants for fertility treatments, providing community-based infertility support groups and educational trainings,” Jewish Fertility Foundation founder and President Elana Bekerman Frank said.
“Becoming a 501(c)3 opens doors for us to expand fundraising activities and fully realize our goals as a charitable organization providing financial assistance, educational awareness and emotional support to Atlanta Jewish families who have medical fertility challenges. We’re here to help Jewish families create Jewish families.”
Recent foundation activities have included:
- A panel discussion at the Metro Atlanta Community Mikvah on Nov. 2 about nontraditional uses of the mikvah related to infertility, menopause and illness. Participating on the panel were Frank; Shapiro; Rabbi Analia Bortz, a physician and member of the foundation’s Rabbinic Advisory Council; and Lynn Goldman, an adoption and surrogacy lawyer and member of the foundation’s board who last year helped launch the Wo/Men Infertility Support & Help group, now a part of the foundation.
- A Nov. 9 training seminar at Temple Emanu-El, in cooperation with the Atlanta Rabbinical Association, on how rabbis and cantors can support people dealing with infertility. The foundation worked with California-based infertility support nonprofit organization Hasidah (Hebrew for stork) on the training. The seminar provided a background on the many issues caused by infertility and taught clergy how to apply existing skills and learn new skills related to infertility support.
- A kosher wine tasting, sponsored by Citi Wine & Spirits, at MACoM as the kickoff event Nov. 10 for WISH’s second year and its first under the JFF umbrella. WISH plans to meet on the second Thursday of each month.
The Jewish Fertility Foundation’s board and committees include representatives of the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox communities, medical experts, and people who have dealt with infertility. The medical committee is composed of seven of Atlanta’s top fertility specialists: Shapiro, Robin Fogle, Kathryn Calhoun, Jennifer Fay Kawwass, Mark Perloe, Jessica Spencer and Andrew Toledo. Rabbis Bortz, Peter Berg, Adam Starr and Mark Zimmerman serve as the rabbinic advisers.
“As a woman struggling with infertility, I know what it’s like to cry alone,” said Frank, who ultimately had two children through in vitro fertilization. “I hope that I can use my experience from working in nonprofits for almost 15 years and my personal understanding around infertility to help other women know there is support available.”