Jews of NY team
Happy #InternationalWomensDay 💙
Updated: Aug 8, 2021
Meet Eylon Nuphar, this woman loves her scars. She rocks them. Her doctor advised her against this move. Instead, she said she’ll love these marks on her body.
Few women can do what Eylon Nuphar, co-founder of Mayumana, recently did. The multi-
talented Israeli performer and New York native underwent a double mastectomy and did not
want to go through several surgeries to reconstruct her breasts.
So this brave woman is now rocking her new look, showing just how strong she truly is.
Nuphar’s life is one filled with joy and courage, and not once was she afraid of the outcome.
Instead of letting cancer take over her life, she took control of her own destiny.
Her mother, Marge (Messing) Rolnick, hails from Larchmont. Marge married Aryeh Rolnick,
and the two were Jewish educators in the conservative movement. In the 1970s, they moved to
Florida, but decided to make ALIYA to Israel by 1977. Eylon was 6 years old at the time.
Each of the women in her family have suffered from breast cancer, but all of them have survived.
They are BRCA1 carriers, which is a specific type of gene mutation that occurs in 8 to 10% of
Ashkenazi women, increasing the chances of cancer development.
“When I was 45, I took preventative action and took my ovaries out,” Nuphar said. “It’s
something that a lot of women do in very early stages that they’re BRCA1 or 2 carriers. I did that
and I wasn’t expecting to get sick again. I thought I did the best I could and it’s behind me.
When I was diagnosed at 49, which is the same age my mom was diagnosed, it was back in the
same breast and that’s unusual because it went through radiation and it’s not supposed to come
She didn’t have much time to decide what to do. It was either go through chemotherapy
treatment and radiation after doing so when she was 33 years old in 2004, or remove her breasts
completely. She chose the latter. The decision did not come easily for Nuphar. She faced trials and tribulations in the past, but
none like this.
“This time, I had a hard time deciding what to do,” she said. “I said there’s no way I’m going to
commit myself to five or six operations later on to reconstruct my breasts. I said I’m going to get
the double mastectomy without reconstruction, and it’s going to be great.”
So in the early fall of 2020, Nuphar went through with a double mastectomy. She would not
reconstruct her breasts, and she would be proud of who she is. Her brave decision comes from her already strong personality. As she puts it, she doesn’t wake
up with a smile on her face throughout this battle.
“I’m just awake in that way that I understand it’s not obvious that I’m here,” she said. “I want to
bring something while I’m here and impact people to be as free as they can to enjoy their lives.
Don’t be afraid that something will go wrong, because something will go wrong at some point.
It’s interesting and it’s worth it.”
Over the past year, Nuphar has been studying with Rabbi Yuval Asherov. Specifically, they
focus on the Rambam’s discourses on nutrition to maintain a healthy body, which evidently
helps one’s soul.
Thanks to studying with Rabbi Asherov, Nuphar is in a new mental space. Her connection with
Hashem continues to grow to this day, praying twice a day in what she calls “free improvisation
“Moving to Israel was confusing because everyone’s Jewish,” she said. “When I was 12, I read
the Torah and that’s unusual in Israel. The connection to Judaism is a connection to my core. I
Since Nuphar’s surgery, dozens of women have reached out to her to share their experiences.
She never imagined the support she’d receive when she made her decision, and she certainly
didn’t realize just how many people would look up to her as an inspiration.
“They never had an example of someone who chose not to do reconstruction without hiding it,”
Nuphar said. “I had a woman who’s 63 and her son wrote a post about how she’s hiding herself,
and she wrote to me saying she was waiting 25 years to tell her story and that I gave her courage.
I walk around the beach now without a shirt. I have a calling with this. I can’t explain it.”
Going forward, Nuphar will continue to share pictures and videos on her social media pages of
her new look. She’ll also be giving talks about her experiences with both cancer bouts and what
it’s like to be a BRCA1 carrier.
Life is much different now for Nuphar. She shows her chest to all, proud of her scars. She even
walks on the beaches in Israel without a shirt, taking a deep breath and appreciating what life has
No matter what happens next, Nuphar knows she made the right choice.
“I’m 49 and don’t have kids, but I’m still a mother for many,” she said. “I do not have ovaries, so
I don’t have hormones. But I’m not an old lady. I don’t have breasts, and I’m still very
Eylon Nuphar’s answers to our Jews of NY questionnaire:
What does your quarantine schedule look like?
As a creator, director, choreographer, and musician, I would normally spend most of my time in the theater working on new creations. Last March as the first quarantine began, my sister, who lives on a “moshav,” called and said: ”I can’t imagine you locked up in a Tel Aviv apartment. You have one hour to pack and move in here with me!” I actually haven’t yet moved back to Tel Aviv, my home city. It was at that point that I discovered that my breast cancer had returned and that I decided to have the double mastectomy, so I actually enjoy the fact that the world changed pace together with me. I decided to move to Caesaria, just by the sea.
My schedule is based on a few daily anchors:
Waking up and walking to the sea - skipping and humming freely, as the beach is mostly free of people and incredibly private. Then, while drinking my green smoothie,
I start with writing all the things I’d like to feel, do and experience. Then I share a post on Instagram which has become my daily stage, with people from all over the globe writing to me sharing their thoughts and feelings.
My next anchor is a pre-sunset dance/movement routine which I document daily, usually at the same spot, just a few meters from my house.
Ever since sharing my proud and beautiful "breathlessness" with the LAISHA magazine, I have been very busy building a movement of liberation and freedom of choice, based on one's individual needs and desires and not on "accepted" conventions. So the days are filled with preparing and developing a podcast, a newsletter, a blog, and online workshops.
With all that, my main priority is healing.
What’s your favorite spot in your apartment?
My favorite spot is my bedroom balcony, where I greet the sunrise and the ocean and celebrate that the night is over. I check out the waves, say hello to the birds, thank the Universe for giving me another day, and thank myself for leaving my phone downstairs, allowing me this timeless time on the balcony.
What’s your favorite quarantine binge food?
Munching on organic goodies. I have been supporting local farmers from the south of Israel who has been having difficulties, so I eat red peppers and amazing cucumbers till I get a stomach ache! My bad would be - a piece of amazing pita bread with zaatar leaves inside. I tear it apart with my hands, getting all greasy from the olive oil, and promise myself I won't eat any more gluten till the next pita bread lands on my door with my father.
What is your favorite Jewish word?
During this time is "A mechaye". My father is 83 years young. He is a Holocaust survivor who spent his childhood moving throughout Europe - including Poland, Russia, Estonia, Italy, and Austria. Together with the English he learned in the ten years he spent in the States, he has a great mix of languages (Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, English…). Whenever he is enjoying a moment he inhales and says "Ach! A mechaye!" These Covid days I don't get to see Dad as often as I would like. When I meet a lovely moment with this expression I feel closer to him.
What are you binge-watching at this time?
After my operation, I had 3 weeks of relative forced rest. I dived into “Planet Earth” and other documentaries. The best ones were Little Big Farm and My Octopus Teacher. I binge-watch Life Itself so I can actually cry because I feel that otherwise, I can go through days without crying. At least this family story touches me and reminds me how fragile things or relationships are and how fragile and strong family connections are.
How do you spend your Shabbat?
I spend Shabbat without my phone and without my To-Do list. Mainly listening to music and cooking new, exciting, healthy recipes. Since I graduated from Rav Asharov's Natural Health course this last year, I am into new ways of cooking. I try to spend each Shabbat with one of my family members crafting and talking - taking it easy and appreciating time.
What has lived through this coronavirus pandemic taught you?
First of all, I should say that I have fallen in love with the free time because it has great possibilities for creative thinking and doing. Living through the pandemic has taught me how important Nature is, how satisfying family connections can be and how simplicity is all about appreciating what is. I discovered that disconnecting from the news allows me to remain joyful and optimistic. The fact that both I and my dear amazing mother were both diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic keeps things in proportion. Nothing about it is a big deal. We concentrate on good things and keep moving towards new dreams.
What do you miss most from your pre-Coronavirus life?
is the freedom to connect with people without worrying about getting Corona and then passing it on accidentally to my loved ones. I also miss traveling to New York tremendously. It’s my second home. My aunt and uncle and my best friends live in New York. I do miss feeling that the world is a safe place.
What are your favorite IG pages?
I love so many IG pages, choosing four was hard for me. So I picked 4: art-dance-music-wisdom
Maor Zabar Hats: He is madly creative and his IG is always uplifting
Anae 2 mad: This amazing 11-year-old Belgian Afrohall Dancer teaches dance and does dance tutorials. She is so joyful it will make you want to dance.
Alon Landa: The wonderful free-spirited musician and artist who shares his journey around the world
David Atten borough: I can listen to him over and over.
Writer: Joseph Wolkin
Photography: Eitan Tal
Video: Reuters, Period