Press Release

Sharsheret Founder Awarded Prestigious Joshua Venture Fellowship

Hackensack, New Jersey (December 11, 2002)–Rochelle Shoretz, Founder and Executive Director of Sharsheret, has been awarded one of eight prestigious Joshua Venture Fellowships for her work in establishing the national organization of cancer survivors dedicated to addressing the unique challenges faced by young Jewish women living with breast cancer. The two-year fellowship will provide venture funding, entrepreneurial training, and technical assistance to further the development of Sharsheret.

Joshua Venture was founded by three leading American Jewish philanthropies - the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation - which set out in 1998 to explore the ways in which they could support the efforts of a new generation of young Jewish leaders. Joshua Venture Fellowships are awarded to Jewish social entrepreneurs, ages 21-35, who are launching or expanding innovative projects and organizations that contribute to a just, vibrant, and inclusive American Jewish community. Awards are made based on the strength of both the applicant and the proposed venture.

“Rochelle was selected from almost 130 applicants from across the United States. Her vision for Sharsheret and commitment to the Jewish community are inspirational,” said Brian Gaines, Executive Director of Joshua Venture. “When you consider her tremendous track record and leadership to date, she was a natural choice for a Joshua Venture Fellowship.”

Sharsheret is a peer support organization dedicated to addressing the unique challenges faced by young Jewish women fighting breast cancer. The organization pairs newly diagnosed young women with Jewish volunteers of all backgrounds who can share their experiences, both personal and medical. Each woman who calls for assistance is paired with a Sharsheret “Link,” a breast cancer survivor who can address the caller’s concerns during one-to-one confidential telephone conversations. Women who initially reach out for support may, in time, become Links themselves, adding to the chain of support that is continually strengthened by common heritage and experience.

Ms. Shoretz is a graduate of Barnard College (Phi Beta Kappa ’95) and Columbia Law School (Kent Scholar ‘96), where she was named an editor of the Columbia Law Review. In 1998, she served as a law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Two years later, Ms. Shoretz was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28, and founded Sharsheret during chemotherapy treatments. Inspired by a conversation with another woman newly diagnosed, she recognized the unique support young Jewish women could offer each other in addressing the challenges of life with cancer. Common concerns include relationships and intimacy, pregnancy after diagnosis, child rearing, community outreach, genetic risks (particularly in the Ashkenazi Jewish population), and the role of religion in daily life with cancer. The name Sharsheret, Hebrew for chain, was selected to symbolize the bond between women, united in experience and strengthened by one another as links in a chain.

For more information about Sharsheret, please contact Amy Mines Tadelis, Director of Outreach and Public Relations, at (973) 438-7800.