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Behar: Of Ice Cream Sales and Shmittah Cycles



In the summer of 2009, the New York Times quoted a study by the CDC that recorded an apparent connection between ice cream sales and murder rates in NYC. The idea that eating ice cream could lead to murder is truly alarming. Luckily, however, a critical reading of the results of the study indicated that, in fact, ice cream consumption did not directly lead to murder. Rather, both ice cream sales and murder rates rise during the summer, when it is hot, and more people are out and about. An oft-cited study, this highlights a crucial principle of both psychological research and Jewish faith: correlation does not equal causation.

One of the foundational tenets of Judaism is the belief that God alone control