October 1, 2009
TSA: Ignore Jews Acting Strangely at Airports
Traveling with a lulav and etrog could cause some airport security headaches.
While the palm branch spine and citron fruit used for ritual purposes on Sukkot aren’t technically on the Transportation Security Administration’s prohibited items list, both the agricultural nature of the items, and the Lulav’s sword-like shape, have been known to raise some security eyebrows.
This year, as in the past few years, TSA, working with the Orthodox Union, has issued an advisory to its workforce alerting them to the Sukkot travel period and the likelihood that they may see Jews traveling with strange items.
“Observant Jewish travelers may carry four plants – a palm branch, myrtle twigs, willow twigs, and a citron – in airports and through security checkpoints. These plants are religious articles and may be carried either separately or as a bundle. Jewish travelers may be observed in prayer, shaking the bundle of plants in six directions,” the alert reads.
The Sukkot travel period this year is begins Sept. 30 and ends Oct. 13.