Listen People…Jews Don’t Blow Up Planes!!!

I travel often. Sometimes I get a little extra attention going through security because of my yarmulke, but I’m used to it. To me … it is just another “perk” of being Jewish.

However, this weekend I had the worst experience of my life going through security at BWI (Baltimore International Airport). After an initial frustration with security, I had to go back out to the airline check-in counter, and then back through security a SECOND TIME. And during all this I had a TSA security guard following me around.

During the second time going through security I was pulled aside, patted down by multiple agents, run through a couple different machines, and swabed numerous times for explosive residues. On top of it … my bag was rummaged through, also checked repeatedly for explosive residues, and the agents were very nervous about my tefillin and siddur. Apparently these agents don’t know the difference between Hebrew and Arabic.

I tried to explain to them that it was all a misunderstanding. However, they did not care (as usual). So after almost missing my plane, being harrassed repeatedly, and most of my toiletries now gone just to appease their nerves, I flew off to Southern California for a second time in a two-week period.

Many readers may be reminded of a similar story that happened in January when a US Airways flight was diverted after a Jewish teen’s tefillin and prayers in Hebrew sparked a bomb scare while in flight. And I have heard of similar experiences from other observant Jews.

The point of my ranting: Airport security personnel should really receive training on what they should actually be looking for. These people have no clue. And it is so frustrating.

Listen people … Rule #1 … Jews don’t blow up planes!

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Simchat Yisrael Messianic Synagogue in West Haven, CT, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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4 Responses to Listen People…Jews Don’t Blow Up Planes!!!

  1. robyn says:

    Unfortunately that can't be a rule, because if it were, people would just start dressing up as observant Jews in order to blow up planes undetected…

  2. Monique says:

    Robyn, I doubt they'd be able to pull it off convincingly. And that doesn't play to their strategy, anyway. The number one tactic of terrorism is blending in, not standing out. This is why jihadists are allowed to drink alcohol and solicit prostitutes while on mission … it's considered holy subterfuge.This is also why it infuriates me to see TSA putting a turbaned Sikh family through the ropes … you really think a terrorist is going to walk onto a plane wearing religious garb?This just throws more fuel on my theory that El Al should run the U.S.' airport security.

  3. Rabbi Joshua says:

    Hi Robyn,Thanks for the comment. This only emphasizes my comment that "airport security personnel should really receive training on what they should actually be looking for."Knowing WHAT to look for is vital. As of now, America's TSA agents primarily just rummage through stuff, pat you down, etc. without any real knowledge of what their doing. Remember, it does not take much to be a TSA agent. According to the TSA website, you only need a GED or High School Diploma … we're not talking rocket scientists here. They're basically mall security guards going through your stuff. Contrast that with El Al's security agents who are required to be military or with military experience and receive intensive training and knowledge on pyshchological screening. They are trained professionals.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I didn't know that soliciting prostitutes was so "Western" that to do so is considered "blending" in. That's a rather sad commentary on us. Dav

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