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October 24, 1966

Mosaic Dietary Laws

Author Affiliations

Brooklyn, NY

JAMA. 1966;198(4):488-489. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110170200042

To the Editor:—  An epidemiological association between Armenians and some Jews in regard to familial Mediterranean fever as suggested by S. H. Mellinkoff, MD (197: July 11, 1966, adv p 30) does not establish a common ancestry for Jews and Armenians. Furthermore, familial Mediterranean fever has been described in Lebanese and Syrian Arabs,1 as well as in Maltese, Italians, Greeks, Northern French, and Dutch.2 Thus, although this disease is genetically determined and probably indicative of a biochemical or metabolic defect, it is not limited to Jews and Armenians, nor for that matter to people living on the Mediterranean Sea.I am in agreement that Jewish dietary laws are primarily moral and ethical teachings attempting to identify the Jew as being separate from non-Jews. Most commentators on the Pentateuch that I am familiar with classify dietary laws as chukim (Hebrew word meaning unexplained laws). These are tenets given by