- Jews have a low rate of alcohol use and abuse as reported in several different countries. In Israel over the last 10 years there has been a rising rate of alcoholism. We studied consecutive new admissions to our inpatient alcohol center, and an age and sex matched comparison group of patients consecutively admitted with schizophrenia for whether each of their four grandparents was Jewish, or non-Jewish. A significantly higher percentage of alcohol-related admissions were immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) than among schizophrenics. Among the alcohol-related admissions from the FSU, there were significantly fewer Jewish grandparents than among schizophrenia patients from the FSU. These data could support the concept that biological Jewish ethnicity has a protective effect against alcohol abuse, but are also consistent with cultural transmission of Jewish attitudes toward alcohol use.