On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared that swine flu is now a phase 6 pandemic, affecting nearly 30,000 people in 74 countries. I wrote a post in April saying that vegetarians and kosher-keeping Jews were just as susceptible to the newly announced swine flu as people who consume pork products. As swine flu continues to take its toll, the proof is in the pudding.
The first swine flu victim in New York State was a Jewish assistant principal at a school in Queens. At least a half-dozen yeshivas in Brooklyn temporarily closed because of reported swine flu links, as did yeshivas in New Jersey and Baltimore. Even a friend I first met in Hebrew school has swine flu; he suspects he got it from his students at a public school in Manhattan.
There have reportedly been 94 cases of swine flu in Israel, including three Americans visiting on a Birthright trip. "Traveling to Israel, I thought he might be more at risk of (terrorist) violence if something tragic happened," the father of one Birthright participant with swine flu told The Sacramento Bee. "I never even thought of swine flu."
Apparently, the fast against swine flu declared by Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi Shlomo Amar last month didn't rid the world of this emerging plague.