Sunday, October 2nd | 8 Tishri 5783

January 2, 2012 7:48 pm

Creating Miracles With Style

avatar by Chaya Wolff

Sarah Fehler with Lea Davidson, director of the American Friends of Puah. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

It is said that three parties are needed to create a child: mother, father and a bit of ezrat Ha Shem (God’s help). For about one sixth of all married couples, however, this triumvirate is not enough. To achieve the successful pregnancy that will enable these couples to create their families, this fifteen per cent must seek additional assistance.

The medical – and often spiritual – counseling and assistance these couples must add to the basic can be complicated and difficult. Especially in communities where having children is prized and expected, couples experience great emotional and social pressure. Marriages can become strained. Finding the pathway to pregnancy can be difficult and frightening. Not only are there medical issues to be solved, but, among Jewish couples struggling with infertility, there are also halachic questions to resolve.

The Puah Institute is dedicated to helping couples suffering from infertility by providing medical and spiritual counseling directed at achieving a viable pregnancy and the birth of a healthy child. The Institute’s namesake, was one of the two midwives who defied Pharoh, refusing to murder male infants born to the Hebrew slaves. She is a hero in Jewish history. Author Francine Klagsbrun in Voices of Wisdom, says the midwives’ actions “may be the first known incident of civil disobedience in history.”

Puah Institute “provides counseling, referrals and support, free-of-charge, to all those seeking professional help”…combining “pastoral wisdom and specialized training in modern reproductive medicine. Throughout the treatment process – including IVF (in vitro fertilization) when appropriate – its supervisors certify the genetic integrity of fertility treatments.”

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Puah has worked with couples suffering from infertility for over twenty years. Its multilingual medical and rabbinical staff field “complicated medical inquiries to relevant halachic questions” from couples in many countries. Through both private counseling and educational services including lectures, seminars for rabbis concerning women’s health and reproductive medicine, and training courses for medical professionals concerning Jewish law and the unique needs of orthodox Jewish patients.

While free to couples in need of its services, Puah must be funded. December 21, nothing could stop that funding from being both fun and fashionable. More than one hundred (mostly) young women gathered at the Chelsea Room in Manhattan for an exciting evening of fashion, followed by an after-party with friends. Chairwomen of the event, sisters Sarah and Toby Fehler, fashion mavens from London, worked with local friends, Mushkee Efune and Bela Sufrin, members of the American Friends of Puah Institute and its director, Lea Davidson, to develop the “Royal Runway.” Fashions from the collections of Tamar Daniel, Badgley Mischka, The Frock Swap, Dorit Antian/Harvest, Royal Runway and were featured in the showing of vibrant fashions.

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