August 14, 2009

Flying rabbis pray for swine flu protection


by David Masters

Rabbis took to Israel’s skies this week in an effort to ward off swine flu.

The 50 rabbis, from the mystical Kabbalah branch of Judaism, chartered a small passenger plane to circle the country as they prayed.

Through chants, prayers, and blowing the shofar ram’s horn, the rabbis sought to protect Israel from the pandemic.

“The aim of this operation is to stop this epidemic so that people don’t die any more,” Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri told the the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

“Following our prayers, we are certain the danger is now over.”

He added that the rabbis would repeat their flight in Britain’s skies if the UK government called on them to do so.

Five people have died so far in Israel from the virus. Around 2,000 people in the country have been infected.

“Swine flu” sounds unclean to observant Jews, whose religious laws condemn the eating of pork.

During interviews after the flight, none of the rabbis referred to the virus by its vernacular name; instead they used the medical term H1N1 or called the pandemic a “plague”.

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