The cultural assessment models are mental structures, patterns, and behaviors of a particular
culture that distinguish them from others. These cultural models are often based on the joint
experiences of the society that are shared by the majority of these members. The cultural models
are often identified through a community’s cultural artifacts, traditions, language and patterns of
behavior. This paper aims to compare and contrast the cultural models of the Jewish community
and the Native Americans, where their cultural beliefs, customs, and values either enhance or
impede optimal health.
Although most people view the Jewish culture as a religion, it is indeed an orthopraxy
relating to their deeds and practices. Since the Jewish traditions and cultures stretch back over
5000 years, a large number of their customs have amassed. Each Jewish community has its own
customs and traditions, ranging from birth to death rituals. For the purposes of this paper, the
customs that affect their optimal health, such as their diet and death rituals, are discussed.
The traditional Jewish customs emphasize on the circumcision ceremony of all males on the
eighth day after their birth. This ceremony is widely known as the b’ris ritual (Trovato, Ali,
Nicolas, El Halabi, & Meouche, 2017). During this ceremony, the infants are circumcised as a
fulfillment of divine command by God. The procedure consists of the removal of a baby’s
foreskin using various surgical tools followed by a series of rituals and prayers.
The traditional Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut) comprise numerous common practices. For
instance, the traditional Jews that observe these laws are not required to eat meat and dairy
products together in the same meal. Furthermore, Jews are not required to consume some types
of animal products such as shellfish and port products. Due to these traditions, most Jews ensure
that they keep kosher at home (Cai, 2016).
The next Jewish ritual that may affect their health is the funeral traditions that require the body to
be watched over by a guardian who recites prayer continuously till their burial and ritual washing
of the body in preparation for burial. Although the Jewish law required the body to be buried 24
hours after death getting in contact with such bodies may pose health risks.
The traditional Native Americans, on the other hand, have their own traditions that are
detrimental to their optimal health. Their traditional healing rituals prevent most families from
visiting hospitals who instead prefer using herbs from traditional healers. Such healing rituals are
often held to bring the community into harmony with each other in the community especially for
larger healing ceremonies. Smaller ceremony was however meant to bring individual healing.
The traditional Indian traditions made use of plant and herbs as remedies in various spiritual
traditions to create different connections and communication with the spirits and afterlife. The
native American healing included beliefs and practices that combined spirituality, rituals and
Pregnant native American women were restricted to performing some particular activities in the
community and even had special diet and behaviors meant to protect the bady before delivery.
For instance, Cherokee Indians believed that consuming some particular foods could cause
unwanted physical characteristics on a baby. For example, they believed that when a pregnant
woman ate speckled trout could cause birthmarks on a child while consumption of black walnuts
could cause a baby to have a big nose. the community further believed that when a pregnant
mother wore a neckerchief, it could cause umbilical strangulation of baby. Most of these rituals
were aimed at guaranteeing safe delivery.
Traditional healers believed in making people both physically and spiritually whole as they
assumed that various illnesses stemmed from different spiritual problems. The traditional Native
Americans observed death rituals since they believed that the death of a person paves way for
their journey to a different realm (Ameri, Khodadadi & Hajiani, 2017). To ensure the dead’s
safe journey, the Native Americans wash them with natural yucca suds and grab them in
traditional attires. They then tie prayer feathers around the forehead of the deceased and bury
them with their favorite possessions. Such close contact with the dead poses serious health risks
on people conducting such rituals, which impede optimal health.
Ameri, S., Khodadadi, A., & Hajiani, E. (2017). Cultural Intelligence Diognastic and Assessment
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Cai, D. Y. (2016). A concept analysis of cultural competence. International Journal of Nursing
Sciences, 3(3), 268-273.
Trovato, M. G., Ali, D., Nicolas, J., El Halabi, A., & Meouche, S. (2017). Landscape risk
assessment model and decision support system for the protection of the natural and cultural
heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean Area. Land, 6(4), 76.