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Nov 17, 2010

Another plane vs tefillin incident causes scare

Way back when, in the olden days of January 2010, there was an incident on an airplane in which a young man lay tefillin while inflight and began davening. He did not respond to questions, because he was in the middl eof services, and ended up being arrested for questioning, as he was suspected of being involved in some sort of terror plot. Neither the passengers nor the flight attendants were familiar with what tefillin are, and they suspected he was wrapping himself in explosive wiring.

Even though the story was strange, it involved a flight to a small city, and perhaps they don't have many Orthodox Jews on such flights, so it can be understood a bit that nobody would recognize the tefillin for a non-terrorist, religious paraphernalia that they are.

According to Bechadrei, an Orthodox Jew flying from New York to Boston this past Monday had a similar experience. he stood up to say the shmoneh esrei, while wearing his tefillin, and other passengers saw what they deemed to be suspicious activity. They alerted the flight attendant, but the fellow ignored questions directed at him from the FA, as he was in the middle of his silent service.

When the plane landed he was immediately escorted off the plane by the police and taken for questioning.

I did a basic search on google and could not find any more information about this incident from other sources. They all point to the January incident, and not knowing any more details makes filtering the info difficult.

Another stupid incident. The Jewish guy acted stupidly. in today's day and age where the airlines in America are scared of terror and are very sensitive (think of the "If you touch my junk I am going to call the police" incident that happened the other day while going through airport security), he should have known better than to draw attention to himself like that.

As well, the flight attendants seem to be pretty stupid. A major flight route from NY to Boston is very likely to regularly have orthodox jewish passengers, and I am sure this was not the first time anybody will have seen tfillin on such a route.

Brains, people. Brains.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. There is no reason WHATSOEVER that a person should be davening with tefillin on a FORTY FIVE minute flight from NY to Boston. The guy should be locked up for pure stupidity!

  3. It's such a short flight, there's no way that they see this on a regular basis.

  4. Aren't there instances when people can talk during Shmoneh Esrei so as not to cause other people panic attacks like that?

  5. 1. this person is an idiot. even in the middle of shemoineh esrei he could have sat down and continued.

    2. the flight attendant did NOTHING wrong. She cannot take liability for a god-forbid accident. If it turns out it was a terrorist posing as an ortho jew, and she defended hiom, then what? sorry, no way, passengers complained legitimatelt, he needs to sit his butt down!

  6. Here's a thought:

    Next time you're going to lay tefillin on a short flight or a flight between cities that don't have a lot of observant Jews (I say observant, not Orthodox because - I know this is a shock to some of you - there are non-Orthodox Jews who lay tefillin), do this:

    Go to the flight attendant. Tell them, "I am going to pray, and before I do so I am required to wrap these leather straps on my arms and head. Do you have any questions or concerns before I begin?"

    If you are not comfortable speaking to a flight attendant of the opposite gender, and you can't find one of your gender, say it to a responsible-looking adult seated near you.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


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