Advertisement

Archive for Friday, January 22, 2010

Jet diverted over teen passenger’s prayer

January 22, 2010

Advertisement

— A Jewish teenager trying to pray on a New York-to-Kentucky flight caused a scare Thursday when he pulled out a set of small boxes containing holy scrolls, leading the captain to divert the flight to Philadelphia, where the commuter plane was greeted by police, bomb-sniffing dogs and federal agents.

The 17-year-old on US Airways Express Flight 3079 was using tefillin, a set of small boxes containing biblical passages that are attached to leather straps, Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore said.

When used in prayer, one box is strapped to the arm while the other box is placed on the head.

“It’s something that the average person is not going to see very often, if ever,” FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver said.

The teen explained the ritual after being questioned by crew members of the flight, which had left LaGuardia Airport around 7:30 a.m. headed for Louisville and was operated by Chautauqua Airlines, authorities said.

Officials with the airline, however, said crew members “did not receive a clear response” when they talked with the teen, according to a statement issued by Republic Airways, which owns Chautauqua.

“Therefore, in the interest of everyone’s safety, the crew decided to land in Philadelphia, where a more complete investigation and follow-up with authorities would be possible,” the statement said.

The flight landed in Philadelphia about 9 a.m. without incident and was met by bomb-sniffing dogs, police and officials from the FBI and Transportation Security Administration.

Authorities said the plane was searched and passengers were questioned.

The teen, who is from White Plains, N.Y., and was traveling with his 16-year-old sister, was very cooperative, Vanore said.

“They were more alarmed than we were,” Vanore said.

Klaver said the teen and his sister were never in custody and were cleared to continue their travels.

The teen’s grandmother, who was waiting for him at Louisville International Airport, said the early flight left no time to pray before leaving New York.

“He hadn’t had the opportunity to pray, so that is why he did it on the plane,” Frances Winchell said.

She said the episode was traumatic for the boy, whose mother requested that he not give interviews.

“But in any event,” she added, “all’s well that ends well, and maybe some good will come to the world because of it.”

The teen, who belongs to the congregation Young Israel of White Plains, is “a brilliant student” from “the sweetest family,” said Shmuel Greenberg, the synagogue’s rabbi.

The morning prayer ritual is supposed to take place within a few hours of sunrise, so it’s understandable that the teen was doing it on the plane, Greenberg said.

Binding the boxes of holy scrolls to the arm and head serves as “a reminder for the person that their actions during the day, and what they think about during the day, should be on a level of holiness and should inspire them to do productive, good things,” he said.

The rabbi said that he could see how someone unfamiliar with the tefillin could be alarmed.

“Security today is a serious issue. You can’t become educated up in the air,” Greenberg said. “I can definitely see a pilot or a crew that never saw it before in today’s environment be very, very concerned.”

Comments

bd 4 years, 11 months ago

I wonder what ever happened to religious freedom???

methastophalize 4 years, 11 months ago

wwjd? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

jimmyjms 4 years, 11 months ago

Can you imagine what the righties would be saying on here if the kid had been...brown and Muslim?

supernik 4 years, 11 months ago

poor kid! i'm sure had he been older and actually thought about it he would have let them know what he was doing but really, he's just a baby and having grown up in an area that was used to those rituals probably hadnt had any experience with individuals who had no knowledge of it.

Kris_H 4 years, 11 months ago

There must be a lot of undereducated people flying on airplanes these days, including the crews. I'm not Jewish, don't have any Jewish friends, but I would have known what he was doing.

LoveThsLife 4 years, 11 months ago

"Yeh. Once again, you idiot's and your superstitions are affecting other people's lives.

No good will come out of this unless that boy learns to stop practicing his freakish rituals on airplanes."

Actually it wasn't a freakish ritual it was a Hebrew prayer and it has been practiced for centuries. I am not even Jewish and I would have known what he was doing. Poor kid, he probably was super freaked out.

Blessed4x 4 years, 11 months ago

"jimmyjms (Anonymous) says…

Can you imagine what the righties would be saying on here if the kid had been…brown and Muslim?"

Can you imagine what the lefties would be saying on here if the kid had been...brown and Muslim? Nothing, because you probably wouldn't have even known about it. It would have been a single paragraph AP story on page A15 and would not have referenced anything religious or racial.

jimmyjms 4 years, 11 months ago

"Nothing, because you probably wouldn't have even known about it. It would have been a single paragraph AP story on page A15 and would not have referenced anything religious or racial."

Uh huh. Because a quick google search wouldn't prove you completely and totally wrong, would it?

1029 4 years, 11 months ago

They should have tased him and kept going to Louisville. I'm sure a 7:30 flight had more than a few people who were trying to make a business meeting that morning.

LoveThsLife 4 years, 11 months ago

'They should have tased him and kept going to Louisville. I'm sure a 7:30 flight had more than a few people who were trying to make a business meeting that morning.'

I can't believe you said that. What is wrong with you? Why would you tase someone for praying? He wasn't threatening anyone.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 11 months ago

I bet they thought he was a suicide bomber and was going to blow himself and the plane up using a device in the boxes. Nowadays, the flight attendants must be on edge always looking around to catch someone doing something.

SteelHorseRider 4 years, 11 months ago

I recommend getting up a little earlier and praying in the privacy of your home.

Janet Lowther 4 years, 11 months ago

Airline Paranoia. It comes from the disarmament of air crews and passengers.

geekin_topekan 4 years, 11 months ago

I'll bet Bin Laden's laughing in his towel.

beatrice 4 years, 11 months ago

rukus, how exactly could he have a little bomb in the boxes? They still have to go through the screening process, just like your deodorant.

And why do I suspect I have read such things before, from someone who has been bounced from here again and again and again. No, I'm sure you aren't that same person. It must just be a coincidence that you have made 59 comments in just 4 days, just like that person who keeps coming back ... like mold. You can clean it up, but you can't make it disappear.

LoveThsLife 4 years, 11 months ago

"I recommend getting up a little earlier and praying in the privacy of your home."

Before you make comments like this please educate yourself on other's customs and beliefs. He was an orthodox Jew and in Judaism the morning prayer ritual is supposed to take place within a few hours of sunrise. He may not have had the opportunity to pray before he had to board.

LoveThsLife 4 years, 11 months ago

"One could hide explosives in those little boxes, there could be a Jewish terrorist out there (not just the Bernanke types) or people pretending to be Orthodox Jews that blow up a plane."

I am reading this in disbelief..why on earth would there be a Jewish terrorist? Do you not understand that we give billions of dollars to Israel every year. We have helped fund their nuclear program, we have given them weapons. If you ever visit Israel you will see it looks like a little America in some ways..their roads look like ours etc..seriously. Do you even understand why terrorists from the middle east want to attack America?

Christine Anderson 4 years, 11 months ago

Defenstrator and Rukus, got s bit of Hitler attitude in 'ya? It was not a "freakish ritual". Sounds like this kid is a better person than either of you.

Christine Anderson 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh, for the two or three idiot posters here, I recommend picking up a copy of "Judaism For Dummies". They have it at Hastings. Bet my Rabbi could get you one, too.

jimmyjms 4 years, 11 months ago

Richard Head has a most appropriate screen name.

You're not really sure what the ACLU is, are you Richard?

MyName 4 years, 11 months ago

If we were taking bets on the next Arminius clone, my money would be on Mr. Head.

TheYetiSpeaks 4 years, 11 months ago

Let's give credit where its due: Instead of screaming persecution at the top of their lungs these folks seem kind of indifferent to the whole thing, chalking it up to people doing their jobs. How refreshing.

ldvander 4 years, 10 months ago

"Before you make comments like this please educate yourself on other's customs and beliefs. He was an orthodox Jew and in Judaism the morning prayer ritual is supposed to take place within a few hours of sunrise. He may not have had the opportunity to pray before he had to board." Lovethslife LOLOLOL You should really get an award! What exactly is a "few" hours after sunrise? Could he have practiced this insane chanting ritual when his plane landed in kentucky before noon? Or is before noon no longer a few hours after sunrise? And being wintertime when did the sun actually become visible? Did this yong Jew check on the weather.com for the day's actual sunrise? Is that what they teach Jews? You must check with your local meteorologist for actual time of sunrise everyday! I can hear the Rabbi now! And what is the punishment for not practicing this silly prayer "within a few hours of sunrise"? I just want to know all I can. Want to educate myself. LOL let me get right on educating myself of every religious prayer ritual in our world. Maybe in my 120th reincarnation I will finally know all of them. Thank you so much for the entertainment! LoveThsLife you are awesome!

weeslicket 4 years, 10 months ago

facts: The 17-year-old on US Airways Express Flight 3079 was using tefillin, a set of small boxes containing biblical passages that are attached to leather straps, Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore said. When used in prayer, one box is strapped to the arm while the other box is placed on the head.

oh yah. that definitely sounds like a bomb.

i'll have to remember never to fall asleep on a plane with an open book on my lap, especially a real hardcover book. eerrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

LoveThsLife 4 years, 10 months ago

ldvander that was the most idiotic comment I have ever read.

LoveThsLife 4 years, 10 months ago

Since ldvander is so ignorant here are a few links to educate you...maybe this way you can quit making fun of someone who lives and worships differently as you....

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10023/1030503-84.stm

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Prayers/Da ily_Prayers/daily_prayers.html

ldvander 4 years, 10 months ago

LoveThsLife LOL who says I worship at all. But i get it. You and a couple others on this link and another comment page around the same story refer to all non-Jewish people as "ignorant" and "Idiots". And my post was a little in the way of attacking you and I apologize. I actually see the humor in all this carrying on over this story of the praying teenager mistaken as a could be terrorist. And as far as prayer and religion, Im sorry, i can never quit making fun of it. And for real, thanks for the links I will check them out with an open mind.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.