Taking a healthy interest
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Taking a healthy interest

TEANECK – "Knowledge is power," says township resident and school psychologist Dr. Aliza Frohlich about preventive health care. To share that knowledge with as many area residents as possible, Frohlich, a member of Cong. Beth Aaron, proposed to the sisterhood of her congregation that it organize a health fair.

Ultimately, "we decided not to limit the project and to invite other synagogues to participate," says Frohlich. As a result of that invitation, the sisterhoods of nine Orthodox synagogues in Teaneck will join on Sunday to sponsor what project organizers call the "first-ever" community-wide health fair here.

According to Frohlich, the 10-person organizing committee "brainstormed the kind of topics we ourselves would be interested in learning about," and each member took responsibility for securing expert presenters. The goal of the fair — which will include dozens of workshops and booths as well as on-the-spot health screenings — is "to help as many people as possible."

The fair will address issues surrounding both mental and physical health and will explore topics from cardiac illness and genetic testing to depression and elder care.

Says Frohlich, "We want to provide information to the community — describing different conditions and providing warning signs for possible problems — and also to publicize resources available in our area."

"Sometimes, having the right information can make a world of difference in giving people the hope, strength, and tools they need to overcome whatever challenges they are facing," she adds, explaining why organizers have chosen to focus on such a wide range of issues.

"Something as simple as knowing how to childproof your kitchen or properly place a carbon monoxide detector can, and does, save lives."

The fair will include all-day workshops for adults and children. Children’s sessions will focus on fire safety, "stranger danger," dental hygiene, and martial arts, while adult offerings will look at topics such as depression, self-diagnosis for breast cancer, yoga, choking intervention, Tay-Sachs testing, attention deficit disorder, and self-defense.

In addition to workshops, some 50 booths will offer information and resources on specific issues.

Says Frohlich, "We invited someone from the Yatzkan Center to speak about substance abuse and a staff member from the Renfrew Center to discuss eating disorders. Booths dealing with breast cancer will be run by Sharsheret and the Breast Cancer Association of America, and members of the Teaneck police department will sponsor a booth on fingerprinting for kids."

The roster of guest presenters includes a representative from Chai Lifeline, who will discuss dealing with cancer and terminal illness; staff from Project SARAH, an organization that aids victims of domestic violence; representatives of the New Jersey Alzheimers Association; and assorted experts on topics such as diabetes, asthma, and allergies.

In addition to booths and workshops, attendees will have an opportunity to obtain cholesterol and blood pressure screenings and participate in a blood drive and bone marrow drive.

Babysitting and craft activities will be offered for children, with child-care volunteers provided by the Torah Academy of Bergen County, the Frisch School, and Ma’ayanot High School.

Sponsoring the event are the sisterhoods of congregations Arzei Darom, Beth Aaron, Beth Abraham, Bnai Yeshurun, Keter Torah, Netivot Shalom, Rinat Yisrael, Shaarei Tefillah, and Young Israel of Teaneck. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to ‘ p.m. at Cong. Keter Torah, 600 Roemer Ave.

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