Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests

Tefillin in the News

I was wondering when this would happen — to me! I’ve occasionally donned phylacteries, a/k/a tefillin, en route aboard an airplane to pray in the morning, per Jewish tradition. You don’t want to do it on an airplane since it’s crowded and more to the point, could alarm passengers. That’s what happened today when a US Airways Express flight from LaGuardia was diverted from its course, landing at Philadelphia, after others on the craft, fearing terrorism, became panicked on seeing a 17-year-old Orthodox Jewish male strapping a small leather box to his forehead and another to his arm (see Deuteronomy 6:8). 
Inside the boxes? Leather parchments inscribed with Hebrew Scriptural passages. Thankfully, no fellow passenger has ever freaked out on seeing me do this. At Cross-Currents, my friend Rabbi Adlerstein notes that Philadelphia Police chief inspector Joe Sullivan has assured a worried public in this AP video that the set of “olfactories” in fact posed no threat.
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posted January 22, 2010 at 6:30 am

Totally hilarious-thanks for sharing!

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Michael Peterson

posted January 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

When I first heard the explaination as to why the flight was diverted, I was sort of dispirited. The event illustrated just how ignorant of religious traditions we are. Goodness, even Jesus wore teffilin.

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posted January 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm

oh dear oh dear – olfactories! oh I’m’ dyin’, I’m rollin’ on the floor!

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posted January 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm

I usually sacrifice a goat and then burn some bald eagle beaks before flying. Then, I pray to Horus. Next, I recite Druid prayers. I’ve found that wearing feathered and beaded headdresses keeps me safe. Lastly, I bless the aircraft by bathing it in dolphin blood because I don’t want the wings to melt off. I fly pretty frequently and I haven’t crashed yet!
I’m glad I’m not delusional and airport security doesn’t think my mythological religious faith is weird or irrational.
After all, there is no way I can accept that brilliant scientists and engineers work hard to improve our lives and keep us safe by investigating the physical properties of materials and fluids, testing conditions, and continuously analyzing data by approaching flight in a rational manner. That would just be silly.
We should all be aware of everyone’s religious mythology, this is why I am telling everyone about mine (which is the right one, of course). I can’t think of anything else we could be focused on: cure for cancer, ageing, adequate nutrition, world hunger, sustainable agriculture, energy, financial reform, global development, educational performance, etc, are rather trivial matters. Plus, religion solves all these problems, obviously.

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posted January 24, 2010 at 4:11 am

“I can’t think of anything else we could be focused on: cure for cancer, ageing, adequate nutrition, world hunger, sustainable agriculture, energy, financial reform, global development, educational performance, etc, are rather trivial matters”
Which one of these are you tackling, Dan?

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posted January 25, 2010 at 8:38 am

I have to say that although I also laughed when the Philly policeman said olfactories, it always does my heart good to hear someone “official” who is so clearly personally unfamiliar, explain/defend Judaism or a Jewish practice. From this event comes one more data point of familiarity and that makes us all one less data point apart.
Have a good day Dan.

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fCrystal Knight

posted January 31, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I am not concerned about men wearing phylacteries on airplanes. I am concerned about men wearing phylacteries on Wall Street, and in corporate boardrooms.

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posted February 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Why is that?

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