Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tefillin in the Airport

One has to appreciate that this 17-year old who wore tefillin on a plane, resulting in its emergency landing in Philadelphia, and his sister were so polite and responsive and cooperative with the authorities. Hopefully this will be a big enough story that there won't be issues for others in the same situation. The comments on the mislabeled Times piece are interesting - certainly the news reports specifically note how polite he was; he was not "disruptive" as the Times put it. In the past friends have debated whether or not to put on tefillin while flying because of how it can be misunderstood (most people have never seen the little black boxes and straps, and it's easy to understand the concern), but usually we would avoid the issue. Sometimes it wasn't as avoidable, but on the rare occasion where someone asked, it was a simple and easy thing to explain. The issue we would have was with the rare guy who wouldn't respond to a flight attendant or passenger questioning the "strange" practice - use your common sense and explain briefly what's going on before they think you're a security threat. In today's story, it appears that he was never asked before the plane landed, and answered immediately when it did land. It's surprising that the flight attendant didn't even ask, and one would think that the lack of concern on the part of other passengers should have tipped her off that some may have seen this before, especially if she would have simply asked. Ah well.