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Friday, January 22, 2010

Flying While Jewish
Posted by Jill | 6:46 AM
I guess being an observant Orthodox Jew is the latest thing to be defined as a crime against the flying public:
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A teenage airplane passenger using a Jewish prayer object caused a misunderstanding that led the captain to divert a Kentucky-bound plane to Philadelphia and prompted a visit from a bomb squad.

A 17-year-old boy on US Airways Express Flight 3079 from New York to Louisville was using tefillin, a set of small black boxes containing biblical passages that are attached to leather straps, said Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore.

When used in prayer, one box is strapped to the arm while the other box is placed on the head.

"It's something that the average person is not going to see very often, if ever," FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver said.

The teen explained the ritual after being questioned by crewmembers of the flight, which had left LaGuardia Airport around 7:30 a.m. and was operated by Chautauqua Airlines, authorities said.

Officials with the airline, however, said crewmembers "did not receive a clear response" when they talked with the teen, according to a statement issued by Republic Airways, which owns Chautauqua.

"Therefore, in the interest of everyone's safety, the crew decided to land in Philadelphia, where a more complete investigation and follow-up with authorities would be possible," the statement said.

The plane landed without incident and was met by police, bomb-sniffing dogs and officials from the FBI and Transportation Security Administration.

Authorities said the plane was searched and passengers were questioned. The teen, who is from White Plains, New York, and was traveling with his 16-year-old sister, was very cooperative, Vanore said.

"They were more alarmed than we were," Vanore said.

I can understand some moron on a plane not knowing what t'fillin are. But one would think that the FBI and the TSA would at least have some understanding of various religious traditions. I wonder what Peter King thinks about this? Was the kid also guilty of "flying while swarthy" too?

A few years ago, Mr. Brilliant and I were on a flight to Jamaica. Seated next to us was an elderly Jamaican woman. This woman had clearly not flown very often, because she spent the entire four-hour flight praying to Jesus, loudly and in no uncertain terms. Nonstop. For. Four. Fucking. Hours. Would she be interrogated by the TSA if this happened today? Probably not. Because she was a Christian. And Christianity is the only ACCEPTABLE religion these days.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I gotta say there's a lot of irony in an observant Jew being mistaken for a Muslim suicide bomber given the number of well-funded Jewish racists who have spent decades and millions of dollars fanning the flames of Islamophobia by arguing that all Muslims are dangerous subhumans.

Anonymous The other Andy Walker said...
But one would think that the FBI and the TSA would at least have some understanding of various religious traditions.
You MUST be kidding! Or did you outsource writing your comments today? You've flown more than twice in your life. Have you met anyone from the TSA who would know about -- let's take an example -- Wicca?
How would they have gotten "understanding" of other than their own religious tradition.? You think anyone in the government is going to teach them? You expect them to learn it on their own?

... Christianity is the only ACCEPTABLE religion these days.
And I would go so far as to suggest that only EVANGELICAL Christianism is acceptable to the TSA...

Blogger Bob said...
I've resided near the Orthodox Jewish Educational Center in the Elmora section of Elizabeth since 2004 & I've never seen tefillim.

Anonymous mandt said...
"Would she be interrogated by the TSA if this happened today?" Naaa, but a suggestion of crucifixion might do. As for a terfillim, for God's sake, everybody has seen at least one on the History Channel, or in Manhattan, the Bronx, or Florida. What morons! The dude should'a explained that it was a religious I-Pod.

Blogger Distributorcap said...
remember, this is the same govt that would fire anyone who is gay, despite the fact they might be one of the only arabic speakers on payroll (that iwhat the army did)