Religion & Beliefs

Tip of the Week: Don’t Fly While Being Jewish

Another day, another purported terrorism scare at a New York City-area airport. Today, it’s out of LaGuardia, where a flight to Louisville had to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after a passenger’s use of a religious item caused flight … Read More

By / January 21, 2010

Another day, another purported terrorism scare at a New York City-area airport. Today, it’s out of LaGuardia, where a flight to Louisville had to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia after a passenger’s use of a religious item caused flight personnel to fear a bomb scare. What was that religious item, you may ask? Not a Koran, like you might guess. According to CBS, "a Jewish male removed a "tefillin" for prayer purposes after takeoff. The removal of the "religious item" prompted a bomb scare aboard the plane." (Please note that that is an exact quote, including all the scare quotes.) Yes, guys, it turns out that a tefillin box totally looks like a bomb. Thank goodness nobody tried to bring a tzedekah box on board with them.

The man in question was removed from the flight and is probably being questioned by the FBI. However, this is the second incident this month that makes it seem it’s less safe to fly while obviously being Jewish. The first, of course, was comedienne Joan Rivers being denied access to a flight because her passport carried two names – her stage name (Rivers) and her much Jewier-sounding legal name (Rosenberg).

Through his brother, "Joseph," Jewcy spoke to "Caleb," a passenger who was sitting near the Jewish man on this flight. Speaking under condition of anonymity because he and several other passengers are still being questioned by the FBI, he said that "There was no problem with [the Jewish passenger] at all," and added that the flight attendant who reported the ‘suspicious activity’ was biased against the Jewish passenger because she was African-American and did not understand Judaism or the significance of tefillin. The flight attendant in question is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. [Editor's note: I just want to point out we're not hating on Southern people or saying they're all racist. I mean, dude, I'm from Raleigh. We're just relaying how Caleb and Joseph described the situation to us, and Caleb drew his own conclusions about the situation. Jewcy does not necessarily share or endorse his opinion.]

Of course, Jews aren’t being profiled in airports the way that Muslim or Arab-looking people are. At least not yet. But how likely do you think it would be for a Catholic passenger to get kicked off a plane and investigated by the Department of Homeland Security for deciding to pray a rosary before the beverage cart went around? I’d bet the person would be able to pray without incident. And that’s something we should be concerned about.