Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Going to shul is good for your health

Jewish mothers now have another reason to nag their kids about going to shul, thanks to a study by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that says adults who go to shul regularly live longer than those who don't.

Ha'aretz reported that the study, published in the European Journal of Aging, examined the relationship between social interaction and longevity.

[W]e did find two other unique variables that influence survival: the frequency of communication with friends and the frequency of synagogue attendance. Those who attended synagogue regularly clearly had the highest rate of survival," he said.

Data showed that the death rate was 75 percent higher among the group that did not attend synagogue than it was among the group that attended synagogue regularly.

[Professor Howard Litwin of the university's Israel Gerontological Data Center] said that there is no clear-cut explanation for the synagogue attendance effect, but outlined two main possibilities.

"One explanation is spiritual, that is, the individual faith factor," he said. "A series of studies that have been conducted in recent years, especially in the United States, argue that faith helps people deal with psychological pressure. People who believe and pray apparently survive longer," said Litwin.

"Another explanation is the connection between attending synagogue and belonging to a supportive community," he added.

He also suggested that since people who go to shul on Shabbat generally walk instead of drive, they are getting more exercise.

If what this study says is true, going to shul is like killing two birds with one stone – benefiting body and mind all at once.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you walk to shul, the excercise alone is good for your health!