Changing Health and Changing Culture: The Yemenite Jews in Israel

By Michael A. Weingarten | Go to book overview

Notes

CHAPTER
1.
Leighton ( 1959) describes the effects of the gradual cultural transition across the generations on health in rural North America during this century. Wirsing ( 1985) deals with the effects of acculturation on traditional societies such as the Pima Indians, Eskimos, Australian aborigines, and !Kung bushmen. An excellent collection of papers on various aspects of migration and health has recently been published by the World Health Organization ( Colledge etal. 1986).
2.
The only example I could find in the medical literature is the mass immigration of the Polynesian Tokelau islanders to New Zealand after a hurricane hit their island in 1966 ( Prior et al. 1974; Joseph et al. 1983). This was a more gradual and incomplete migration phased over many years and of very much smaller proportions than the case of the Yemenite Jews.
3.
Sarnelli ( 1934), the earliest medical author to describe Yemeni medicine, lists the disciplines that contribute to an understanding of tropical medicine: geophysics, meteorology, anthroplogy, ethnology, ethnography, botany, zoology, pharmacology, general history, medical history, philosophy, sociology, linguistics, philology, and the science of religions! To this we might add at least epidemiology, genetics, microbiology, physiology, and biochemistry.
4.
This general model of community oriented clinical practice involves three areas of knowledge to inform both clinical decisions and social policy: epidemiology, anthropology, and "boethology." Knowledge of the pattern of disease and knowledge of the people in the community must be supplemented by a knowledge of the sources of support available to the patient or the community, including the clinical medical services that we provide. I thank Prof. Ranon Katzoff of the Classics Department at Bar Ilan University for providing me with the term "boethology," which I have used for this category ( Weingarten 1991).
5.
The Danish expedition is described in full detail by Hansen ( 1964), who shows that the main scientific purpose of the expedition was to throw light on the interpretation of the Bible. A distinguished German theologian of the day, Prof. Johann Michaelis, suggested that a journey to Arabia might provide information on plants

-135-

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