web analytics
July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Anti-Terror Airport Squads Briefed on Tefillin and Matzah

It might be best to say the Traveler’s Prayer on the airplane before putting on tefillin.
tefillin bomb rabbijason

Photo Credit: RabbiJason.com

The Transportation Security Administration has made its employees aware the Jews with a kippa and praying with tefillin are not necessarily terrorists.

This good news should help Jews relax when praying at the airport or on the airplane during the Passover holiday.

This is no laughing matter.

When a Jewish teen put on his tefillin and prayed on board a US Airways four years ago, the crew panicked and aborted the flight from LaGuardia Airport, landing in Philadelphia amid unfounded fears of a terrorist bomb.

The tefillin’s two small Scripture-filled boxes were a bit strange to the nervous crew. After all, they could be explosives inside. Or maybe a collapsible Uzi.

And those straps! There are two straps hanging down from the tefillin that are put on the head, and there is a strap on one arm, so who knows? Someone who never saw tefillin in his life could run away with his imagination and suspect that the straps could be wires from an explosive device.

The plane landed, and the boy, a lot more scared than the crew, was met by police, the FBI and bomb-sniffing dogs

And he didn’t even get a chance to pray.

A similar incident the following year caused the pilots of an Alaska Airlines flight to lock down the cockpit and alert authorities because of three Orthodox Jews with tefillin on the flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles.

When the same thing happened on a flight in New Zealand, the country’s Race Relations Commissioner said the armed response was unfortunate and showed “an exaggerated fear of terrorism.”

So this time, TSA is prepared and instructing staffers that tefillin are not bombs, the kippa is not designed to hide a bomb, and matzah is not a bomb.

“Our workforce is aware of the unique items carried by individuals and religious practices individuals may engage in while traveling,” said a TSA statement. This may include reading of religious text or participating in prayer rituals. Observant travelers may be wearing a head covering, prayer shawl, and phylacteries — in Hebrew, kippa, tallit, and tefillin.”

The TSA has also informed baggage inspectors to be careful with matzah packages.

Perhaps they have explained to them that matzah is not suspicious cardboard. Hopefully, workers understand that they are not to be munching on any cookies made with leavened bread when checking matzah packages

“Some travelers will be carrying boxes of matzah, which are consumed as part of the Passover ritual. Matzah can be machine or handmade and are typically very thin and fragile, and break easily,

“Passengers traveling with religious items, including handmade matzah, may request a hand inspection by the TSO of the items at the security checkpoint.” TSO is the abbreviation for Transport Security Officer.

Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella group for Orthodox congregations, expressed its “profound thanks” for the notice, stating that the agency has been deeply sensitive to our community’s needs and concerns on this and many issues.”

But if a worker does accidentally break a matzah in half, who gets the Afikomen

(JTA contributed to this report.)

Below is the TV report of the tefillin-bomb scare four years ago.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Anti-Terror Airport Squads Briefed on Tefillin and Matzah”

  1. Yes, we are not weakened by explaining and making known our conduct to an unknowing, and un Jewish, public. (so I'm also thinking and wondering whether the other passengers could become a 'minion' for prayers…after all, they can't leave…just wondering.;-)

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Vienna.
Iran Deal to Miss Fifth Deadline
Latest News Stories
NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire presented a check for $441,318 to United Hatzalah.

“You’re truly saving lives,” said Stoudemire, “and to do it in a way that’s fun to me, to play basketball, it’s a win-win.”

Protective Edge Remembrance 2015

Adi Kaplan, widow of Captain Zvi (Zvika) Kaplan lit a torch during a ceremony marking one year since Operation Protective Edge at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on July 6, 2015. Prime Minister Netanyahu laid a wreath of flowers at the ceremony honoring our heroes killed in battle against Israel’s enemies in Gaza

Combat soldiers from the Golani Brigade's Egoz unit.

The IDF is placing its four elite combat units under a single commando brigade in the 98th Paratrooper’s Division. The combat units Egoz, part of the Golani Brigade; Rimon, part of the Givati Brigade; Duvdevan of the Central Command; and Maglan of the combat engineering force will be under the new command to be headed […]

The European Union explains the deadline is not being extended. Negotiators simply are continuing to negotiate. Huh?

The “AvocadoFact” Twitter account launched a just-for-fun poll, and the fruit is trouncing “the Donald.”

The IDF says Gaza reconstruction is moving ahead with new Hamas terror tunnels being built.

The ISIS terrorists died after breaking their fast at their Iftar meal with poisoned food…

Europe’s low-fare airline will fly three routes to the Ovda Airport, northwest of Eilat.

Iran’s Expediency Council head says Israel, an “alien presence” will be “wiped off the map” some day.

Palestinian Authority police arrested 170 Hamas terrorists in a sting across Judea and Samaria.

Hollywood producer Branko Lustig says he will gift his Oscar for ‘Schindler’s List’ to Yad Vashem after his death.

Israeli researchers invent a cutting edge technique for stitch-free bonding in cornea transplant surgery.

The Temple Mount is closed to Jews and others for the next 10 days for Islamic observances.

Iran expert predicts there will be no signed deal because Iran already feels it can get all it wants without one.

Russian FM Lavrov met in Vienna with Iran’s Zarif in an unsuccessful bid to break a deadlock in nuclear talks.

More Articles from Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Vienna.

The European Union explains the deadline is not being extended. Negotiators simply are continuing to negotiate. Huh?

The “AvocadoFact” Twitter account launched a just-for-fun poll, and the fruit is trouncing “the Donald.”

Instead of accepting reality, the President is trying to hold on to an illusion.

He wants to show everything is “business as usual,” which everyone knows is not.

Jordanian authorities seized 100 pounds of explosives carried by a member of an Iranian-backed group.

Three fires of 300 acres of forest in the Jerusalem area probably were ignited by Arabs, according to police.

Reporter Laura Rozen: “How many ways can I say significant progress made but important differences remain?”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/anti-terror-airport-squads-briefed-on-tefillin-and-matzah/2014/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: