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Soc Sci Med. 2001 Jan;52(1):83-97.

Death rests a while: holy day and Sabbath effects on Jewish mortality in Israel.

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  • 1Department of Social Work, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheba, Israel.


The purpose of this study was to replicate and expand previous research examining the association between holy days and the timing of death. We analysed daily numbers of deaths of Jewish men and women aged 35 and above in Israel from 1983 to 1992, controlling for long term and seasonal trends. For all men, and for younger women (ages 35-74) there was a clear and significant dip-peak pattern in the number of deaths around the Sabbath (Saturday), but no consistent dip-peak pattern around other holy days. This pattern was found for all causes of death (particularly cerebro-vascular causes), was stronger for men than for women, and was not found among young Jewish children, or among the non-Jewish population.

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