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עמוד בית
Sat, 18.05.24

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June 2017
Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD MPH and Abdulla Watad
January 2013
A.Z. Zivotofsky and A. Jotkowitz
November 2012
October 2012
J. Levin

Background: Despite decades of research on religious determinants of health, this subject has not been systematically investigated within Jewish populations, in Israel or the diaspora. The present paper is part of a series of studies using large-scale population data sources to map the impact of religiousness on the physical and mental health of Jews.

Objectives: To identify religious predictors of physical health in a national probability sample of older Israeli Jews.

Methods: The data derive from the Israeli sample of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), a cross-national survey program involving nearly a dozen nations. The Israeli sample comprises 1287 Jewish respondents aged 50 or over. Outcome measures include single-item assessments of self-rated health, long-term health problems and activity limitation, as well as validated measures of diagnosed chronic diseases, physical symptoms, and activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental ADL (IADL).

Results: Recent synagogue attendance is a significant predictor of better health for six of the seven health measures, even after adjusting for age and several other covariates and mediators, including measures of health-related behavior and social support. Prayer, by contrast, is inversely associated with health according to five measures, perhaps reflecting its use as a coping mechanism for individuals with health problems.

Conclusions: This study presents modest evidence of a salutary effect of Jewish religiousness on this population of older adults. Religiousness, in the form of synagogue participation, was seen to serve a protective function, and prayer a coping function.

February 2012
R. Haimov-Kochman, C. Adler, E. Ein-Mor, D. Rosenak and A. Hurwitz

Background: ‘Religious (halachic[1]) infertility’ results from precoital ovulation prior to immersion in a ritual bath (mikveh) 7 days after menstruation, as mandated by Jewish religious law. Previous authors recommended treatment with estradiol to postpone ovulation and enhance pregnancy rates.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of halachic infertility in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, and assess the efficacy of estradiol treatment in postponing ovulation and increasing pregnancy rates.

Methods: We reviewed 88 cycles, of which 23 were control cycles and 65 estradiol-treated cycles, and analyzed the files of 23 women who were treated with 6 mg estradiol/day from day 1 for 5 days of the cycle.

Results: The prevalence of precoital ovulation in the infertile population was 21%. Most of the patients (94%) ovulated before day 13 of the cycle. A short follicular phase due to low ovarian reserve or thyroid endocrinopathy was noted in 12% of the patients. While 64% of the women reported consultation with a Rabbinate authority, 68% of the patients sought medical therapy. Estradiol postponed ovulation for at least one day in 89% of the treatment cycles. Ovulation post-mikveh occurred in 73% of estradiol-treated cycles. The pregnancy rate was 12.5% per cycle and the cumulative pregnancy rate 35% per woman. Half the patients reported spotting during estradiol-treated cycles, and this postponed coitus.

Conclusions: Precoital ovulation is a major reason for infertility among observant couples attending fertility clinics. Estradiol treatment is effective in delaying ovulation and restoring fecundity however, it causes some adverse effects that may decrease its effectiveness.



[1] Referring to Halacha, the body of Jewish Law

August 2006
H. Dar, C. Zuck, S. Friedman, R. Merkshamer and R. Gonen
 Background: The decision to undergo prenatal testing is influenced by ethnic or religious factors.

Objectives: To evaluate factors that might influence the decision of pregnant women to choose chorionic villous sampling for prenatal testing.

Methods: The study group comprised 239 women referred for prenatal diagnosis who elected to undergo CVS[1]. The data were analyzed according to indication, ethnic group and religion.

Results: Among women undergoing CVS because of advanced maternal age and because of anxiety, we noted a significantly high proportion of unbalanced families, i.e., with three or more children of the same gender and deviated gender ratio. We found a significant excess of males among the Jewish families and a significant excess of females among the non-Jewish families. Jews were over-represented in the monogenic group while Christian Arabs were over-represented in the maternal age/anxiety group.

Conclusions: The proportion of women who chose CVS for prenatal diagnosis varied according to indication, ethnic group and religion. The data in this study indicate that CVS may have been utilized for balancing families with ≥ 3 or more children of the same sex. Christian Arabs chose CVS more often than the other groups. Jewish women may have utilized CVS for family balancing of both sexes, while non-Jews may have utilized CVS for balancing families with ≥ 3 daughters. 


[1] CVS = chorionic villous sampling

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