This morning, an article about the swine flu in a French camp came as a shock to me, as I was personally acquainted with a number of campers attending the camp.
"French Jewish campers are donning face masks after some of their fellow campers were found to be suffering from swine flu symptoms. Dozens of Bnei Akiva Jewish youth group participants from Belgium and Israel at its campgrounds in Normandy, France are affected. At least two campers from Belgium have tested positive for H1N1 virus, according to Zev Schwartz, executive secretary of the World Bnei Akiva movement."
I called up a friend whose two daughters are currently quarantined. They are not experiencing any symptoms and I wish a complete recovery to those affected.
A while later I read the following article about swine flu and the dire predictions for the UK this winter.
"Up to 65,000 people in the UK could die after contracting swine flu this winter, the Government has warned. It made the announcement after confirming that 29 people in the UK - 26 in England and three in Scotland - have already died after getting the virus.
....Cherie Blair, the wife of former prime minister Tony Blair, has pulled out of a series of public engagements while she battles the virus."
Reading about Cherie Blair made me realize that no one is immune. Speaking to my friend this morning me jolted me into the realization that the threat is real. This Shabbos, when I recite the blessing of 'Rachem na' in the Grace after Meals, I will concentrate on the meaning of the words and hope Hashem will listen to my prayers.
"Please have pity, Hashem our G-d, on Your people Israel, on Your city Jerusalem, on Zion the dwelling of your exalted countenance, on the kingdom of David Your anointed, and on the great and holy house that is called by your name."