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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

July 13, 2018  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Palm Harbor native turns rebuff on ‘Bachelorette’ into match with JScreen

By RACHEL MINETTI Jewish Press


Dr. Grant Hubsher Dr. Grant Hubsher Emergency room doctor Grant Hubsher might have been booted from The Bachelorette last season on the first night, but he is still quite the eligible bachelor.

The Palm Harbor native recently paired up with JScreen, a genetic testing and screening nonprofit, to offer a chance to win a date with him at Wolf and Lamb Steakhouse in New York City (it’s kosher friendly, don’t worry.)

The idea to partner with Hubsher was a no-brainer. By the time the contest ended June 1, JScreen had received a few hundred applications from women all over the country looking to dine with the doctor. While requesting the screening kit was not a requirement to enter the contest, it put the topic of Jewish genetic testing on people’s radar.

“He’s a Jewish doctor himself and he’s in the exact age demographic of who should be getting screened,” said Hillary Kener, the director of national outreach and communication for JScreen. “So we reached out to him and thought, you know, this would be a really fun opportunity – he’s cute, he’s a doctor, he’s supporting a good cause, and who wouldn’t want to win a date with him?”

The JScreen date is tentatively planned for August.

“As an ER doctor, I am keenly aware of the devastating effects that genetic diseases can have on families – and am honored to partner with JScreen to help educate couples on simple things they can do to help plan for their future families. The test is quick, private and convenient – and the results can change the lives of future generations.” said Hubsher, who was traveling through Europe when the Jewish Press first caught up with him via email.

Hubsher said his sister, Cher, a dating coach in New York, is actually responsible for convincing him to take the plunge – so to speak – with The Bachelorette. Cher Hubsher was featured on MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen, a show that documents elaborate 16th birthday parties, so reality TV runs in the family.

“My sister thought that I was single for too long, and her being a fan of The Bachelorette, she thought it might be fun to apply for me to be on it,” said Grant. “Then when ABC began calling me, I figured why not, could be fun, or will at least be a unique experience.”

Hubsher said due to confidentiality agreements, he can’t say much more about the 2017 summer season of The Bachelorette, which featured the show’s first African American bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay. He was one of eight suitors not to get a rose at the end of the first episode.

The 30-year-old is currently an ER doc at a hospital in Brooklyn. He attended Pinellas County Jewish Day School and was active in United Synagogue Youth at Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater. In his time as a student at the University of Florida, he was a part of the Jewish Student Union and the AEPi fraternity.

“As a child I learned a lot about the customs of Judaism and the religion itself. While as I matured into college and involved myself in Jewish programs, I became more in tune with what it means to feel culturally Jewish,” Hubsher said.

Growing up, some of his favorite memories were doing the hora and the electric slide at friends’ Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.

Hubsher is still active in the Jewish community in New York. It’s important to him that he frequents various Jewish social programs throughout the year and especially during the holidays. He still makes time to come back home to Florida several times a year.

Hubsher’s connection to the Jewish community and his medical background were a perfect match for JScreen’s mission. “I feel lucky that my time on the Bachelorette can help bring attention to the life-changing impact of genetic screening and JScreen,” Hubsher said.

The goal of the nonprofit, which is affiliated with Emory University in Atlanta, is to take the difficulty out of the process of getting screened for Jewish genetic diseases. All one has to do is request a screening kit online and JScreen will send a kit right to your door. Enclosed are instructions about collecting a saliva specimen and a prepaid return label. Once sent back to the laboratory, JScreen’s clinical team will have the results in about three weeks.

“Jewish genetic screening is really for anyone who plans on having kids in the future,” said Kener. “Whether you’re single, dating, or married, you should definitely do testing before either starting a family or adding to the family. It’s not just for Jewish people, it’s for interfaith couples as well.”

For more information, go to https://jscreen.org. have joined Schaarai Zedek, so for them he will be a new face.

In a way, he will be a new face to congregants who knew him during his previous tenure at the congregation, as well. As Rabbi Simon shared with congregants in Shofar, the synagogue’s newsletter, he had surgery to correct an underbite problem that caused jaw pain and could have led to digestion problems and loss of teeth. The surgery, he said, gives him less of a Jay Leno type jaw.

Rabbi Simon began his new post on July 1.

One of the big attractions about returning to Schaarai Zedek “is how great things already are here,” Rabbi Simon said. “I do not have to come in and change or re-create things. This is a wonderful congregation and wonderful staff and my first priority is to keep things going as they have been.”

Rabbi Nathan Farb, who was hired as assistant rabbi following Rabbi Simon’s departure in 2015, and all other senior staff members will stay on, he said.

While congregants won’t see any abrupt changes, Rabbi Simon expects over time there will be an evolution at the temple.

“Schaarai Zedek was such an open community before and one of the many things I learned from Rabbi Birnholz is you always need to be adapting and growing and flexibility is really important. I will be starting from where he left things and moving in the same direction.”

Rabbi Simon said an added benefit of returning to Tampa is that he and his wife both have family in Florida – hers in Jacksonville and his in South Florida. Also, he said he missed going to Tampa Bay Lightning games and living in a city with more to offer within a short distance than was available outside of Philadelphia. “That, and bit of Southern charm here” were missed, he said.

Rabbi Simon grew up in Denver, in a large synagogue. “Both my parents taught Sunday school and my dad blew shofar and our synagogue was always an important part of my life. I always wanted to be the guy on guitar playing Jewish music. I wanted all the aspects of what a rabbi does,” he said, adding that he has learned to play guitar and looks forward to incorporating it in some activities at Schaarai Zedek.

“I was one of those kids who by Bar Mitzvah, knew I wanted to be a rabbi,” he said.

He went to the University of Arizona and earned bachelor’s degrees in Judaic studies and psychology, then to Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, where he received a master of arts in Hebrew letters and was ordained.

He was 26 when he landed his first job as assistant rabbi at Schaarai Zedek and said even then there was no resistance from congregants to calling him rabbi or treating him warmly.

“One of the great things about Schaarai Zedek is that the social element is always a focus and it is as important as study and prayer. We think you should know one another and have a good time, and I hope that stays the same,” he said.


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