Sometimes champions die so young that it is difficult for the rest of us to get our arms around their passing. Such is the case for Rochie Shoretz, z”l, the Teaneck resident and founder of Sharsheret, who passed away last week at age 42. Shoretz created Sharsheret, the national cancer organization, when she learned of her own breast cancer diagnosis at age 28. The cause of her death was complications from breast cancer.
Shoretz was such a caring person that while people were offering meals and carpool help back in 2001, the year of her diagnosis, all that she wanted to do was “to speak to another young mom who was going to have to explain to her kids that she was going to lose her hair to chemo,” she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 2003.
Sharsheret, Hebrew for “chain,” provides information and support for Jewish women living with breast or ovarian cancer or who are at an increased risk for certain genetic mutations that might lead to cancer. Women of Ashkenazi descent are at heightened risk for certain genetic mutations that can lead to cancer.
Shoretz, a Columbia Law School graduate, was the first Orthodox woman to clerk for a Supreme Court justice, in this case Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
We wish her family strength in knowing that their mother, daughter and sister helped make the lives of countless women, all with their own stories of courage, better, stronger and hopeful.
We know for sure that the important work of Sharsheret will be an aliyah for her neshama.
It’s never easy losing a champion like Rochie Shoretz. It’s not supposed to be.