Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Life

Aboard Plane, Tefillin Causes ‘Security Situation’

It might be time for some religious training for the brave stewards and stewardesses that fly the lately not-so-friendly skies.

In what was dubbed by police a “security situation,” a Chautauqua Airlines flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Louisville, Kentucky was diverted to Philadelphia this morning when an observant seventeen-year-old from White Planes tried to put on tefillin. Or as Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore described the “religious device”: a set of small black boxes attached to leather straps and containing biblical passages.

According to news reports, a stewardess became alarmed when the boy stood up and started wrapping them on, alerting the Transportation Administration Authority of a “disruptive passenger” and triggering the stop in Philly. The flight attendant had simply never seen tefillin before.

Since the Jewish world is constantly in our sights, it seems incredible that anyone would mistake those little black boxes for anything suspicious.

But, in this case, we might have to agree with FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver who said, of tefillin: “It’s something that the average person is not going to see very often, if ever.”

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.