Monday, April 27, 2009

Oy veh! What's the Hebrew word for "swine" or "pig" - does it exist?

Going Postal: Israel goes with Mexican, over swine in flu name, and a murdered classmate reconnects
Posted: April 27, 2009 by Matthew Coutts
Alumni from Omaha's Westside High School received some cryptic salutations from Classmates.com, which sent out promotional messages claiming that a 1983 graduate just join the online social networking site and is looking to meet up with former classmates.
The problem is, Mary Cronin was the victim of an unsolved murder almost 20 years ago.
The president of Westside's alumni association is calling the incident upsetting, while some of her former friends are suggesting a malicious killer, still on the loose following her 1992 disappearance, set up the account.
Health officials in Israel have altered the name used to described the swine flu, the new hotness in global epidemics, to ensure that residents don't have to pronounce the name of the animal whose meat is banned by Judaism.
"We will use the term Mexican flu in order not to have to pronounce the word swine," said Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman of the ultra-religious United Torah Judaism party.
For the record, Mexico is Ground Zero for the flu pandemic which, according to the World Organization for Animal Health, has origins among birds and humans as well as pigs.

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