It might be time for some religious training for the brave stewards and stewardesses that fly the lately not-so-friendly skies.
In what was dubbed by police a “security situation,” a Chautauqua Airlines flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Louisville, Kentucky was diverted to Philadelphia this morning when an observant seventeen-year-old from White Planes tried to put on tefillin. Or as Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore described the “religious device”: a set of small black boxes attached to leather straps and containing biblical passages.
According to news reports, a stewardess became alarmed when the boy stood up and started wrapping them on, alerting the Transportation Administration Authority of a “disruptive passenger” and triggering the stop in Philly. The flight attendant had simply never seen tefillin before.
Since the Jewish world is constantly in our sights, it seems incredible that anyone would mistake those little black boxes for anything suspicious.
But, in this case, we might have to agree with FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver who said, of tefillin: “It’s something that the average person is not going to see very often, if ever.”