Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/80

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great care and watchfulness of Jewish mothers. There he leaves the matter. One naturally inquires why the Jewish mothers in those congested wards display a solicitude for their babes so much greater than other mothers in the same district, that half as many Jewish infants die as Irish, and two and a half times as many children of native Americans die as of Jewish! It will not do to say, as Dr. Fishberg does in one place, that fewer Jewish mothers work away from home. That is only putting the same fact in another way. Why do they not go away from home? They are just as poor as the Germans, Irish and native Americans in those wards. If a phenomenon of this sort were observed, say, among birds—such a greater affectionateness on the part of one set of mother-birds than on the part of another set, with such an astonishing difference in infant mortality—the ornithologist would unquestionably be strongly inclined to think he was dealing with different species of birds. Dr. Fishberg is studying types of humanity, whose evolution and differentiation are more along mental, moral and social lines than along physical lines; but when he comes to a phenomenon that is of a spiritual character he passes it by as a matter of small significance.

One would think that since Dr. Fishberg is so averse to attributing any of the observed peculiarities of the Jews to race, he would look for their causes in moral and religious habits that are distinctively Jewish; for if the Jews are not a race in the physical sense, they must be a religious community. But Dr. Fishberg's aversion to doing the one thing seems to be as great as his aversion to doing the other. He admits, for example, that the Jews all over the world show a remarkable freedom from alcoholism. "Many physicians state that in their professional experience they have never treated one for inebriety." Drunkards are rare among them. To what is this sobriety due? Neither to race, nor to religious or moral training, according to Dr. Fishberg, but simply to their life in Ghettos, which cut them off from the ways of the gentiles and gave them an abhorrence for their customs. The proof is that as soon as they emerge from the Ghettos inebriety increases among them. Here again we have only the author's unsupported statement as to a matter of fact.

The Jews are credited with immunity from certain diseases and greater susceptibility to others. Dr. Fishberg admits their surprising immunity from tuberculosis. Even when living in the most crowded and unsanitary quarters, their mortality from this disease is far below that of other people. What is the cause of this comparative immunity? Some say it is race; others, that it is their dietary scrupulousness. It is neither, says Dr. Fishberg. Their immunity is partly due to their freedom from alcoholism; partly to their long experience in urban life which has cut off those too weak to withstand the disease, leaving only