On this blog I’ve written about past incidents on airplanes concerning presumed breaches of airline security when Jewish passengers began to put on tefillin (black leather straps and black boxes known as phylacteries). Like many others I criticized the airlines and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for not educating flight crews that these were necessary parts of Jewish prayer garb and therefore permissible on planes and in airports.
Therefore, I feel it is important to now praise the TSA for its recent notification to all employees concerning the prayer accoutrements that might have been seen in airports and on airplanes during the Sukkot holiday. The TSA’s alert stated that “Observant Jewish travelers may carry four plants – a palm branch, myrtle twigs, willow twigs, and a citron – in airports and through security checkpoints. These plants are religious articles and may be carried either separately or as a bundle. Jewish travelers may be observed in prayer, shaking the bundle of plants in six directions.”
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