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November 11, 1983

Rare Medical Occurrences in Jewish Traditions

Author Affiliations

Rambam Medical Center Haifa, Israel
Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center Health Sciences Center State University of New York at Stony Brook

JAMA. 1983;250(18):2469-2470. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340180031012

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To the Editor.—  Recently, three fascinating patients had unusual complications resulting from Jewish religious practices.Jewish religion has developed a set of practices and mores aimed at protecting health. We describe three syndromes that resulted from the observance of Jewish law and tradition.

Shofar-Blowing-Induced Interstitial Emphysema.—  According to the Bible, the Shofar, an animal's horn prepared for use as a musical instrument, is sounded on Rosh Hashanah and certain other times. Rosh Hashanah is designated as yom teruah ("a day of blowing") (Numbers 29:1). Together with the reed, the Shofar is one of the earliest musical instruments known to man that is still in use.A 17 year-old boy was admitted to Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center with notable pain in the midline of the neck anteriorly and difficulty swallowing after his blowing of the Shofar. A roentgenogram of the chest and neck showed interstitial emphysema in the mediastinum and