Ethics

For the week ending 20 February 2010 / 5 Adar I 5770

Tefillin on the Plane

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I am planning to fly in the near future and am taking along my tefillin in my handbag so that I can use them while praying on the plane. After what recently happened on a New York-Louisville flight, which was interrupted because a young flight attendant mistook the tefillin of a young passenger for a terrorist bomb, I am concerned that the same mistake could happen again. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Rabbi Yehiel Kalish, Agudath Israel’s national director of government affairs, recommends that individuals inform their seatmates and the airline staff on the plane of what they are about to do before starting to pray.

Just to make things easier for you, Agudath Israel released a statement that it has worked closely with the Transportation Security Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to sensitize the agency to religious objects and practices of Orthodox Jews, in addition to reaching out to U.S. and foreign airlines.

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