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Chuppah Goes Unorthodox When Wedding Welcomes Swine (Flu)

Latex abounded at the wedding of an Illinois rabbinical student and his bride, when the chuppah was attended by a swine – flu, that is.
By Malkah Fleisher
First Publish: 6/22/2009, 1:07 PM / Last Update: 6/22/2009, 4:16 PM

Sukit Subanersanti for Duhon Studio Photography

Latex abounded at the wedding of an Illinois rabbinical student and his bride, when the chuppah was sullied by the presence of a most unkosher swine – flu, that is.

Chicago couple Jeremy Fierstien and Ilana Jackson, both 26, decided to carry on with their nuptials June 14, after being diagnosed with the highly contagious H1N1 swine flu. They enjoyed an outdoor ceremony at the Conservative Jewish North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, attended by family and friends, many of whom wore latex gloves and surgical masks. 

Fierstien flew in prior to the wedding from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College near Boston, where he is studying to be a rabbi. When he and his fiancée came down with flu symptoms several days later, they joked about the possibility of swine flu, but were shocked when tests came back positive for the disease. Fierstien believes he contracted the illness on the flight.

Their doctor gave them the okay to go on with the wedding, but encouraged the pair to use hygienic precautions.  They donned surgical masks and gloves, walked around the guests rather than down the aisle, maintained a distance of 10 feet from attendees at all times, and did not participate in dancing.

The bride and groom determined to make the best of their situation, enlisting friends to apply Jackson's makeup and style her hair, when the professionals she hired refused to come near her.

Party favors were hand sanitizers.