TSA sends out Religious Advisory

By | October 18, 2006

We are always hunting around the net looking for blogs with interesting articles to bring to our readership. Six Kids and a Full Time Job provided the below TSA Statement of Guidance, sent from the TSA about a recent Jewish religious observance.

“STATEMENT OF GUIDANCE: Succot is a significant religious holiday for Jews. It is 7 days in which observant Jews commemorate the wanderings of their forbearers in the wilderness and celebrate the harvest season. Observant Jews perform special rituals during this time, including the taking of four kinds of plants and incorporating them into daily prayer services. The travel period this year for the Succot holiday will commence several days before the October 6 onset of the holiday (approximately October 1, 2006) and end several days after its October 15 conclusion (approximately October 18, 2006). Jewish travelers may carry four plants – which include a palm branch, myrtle twigs, willow twigs, and a citron – in airports and through the 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. TSA’s standard operating procedures do not prohibit the carrying of such agricultural items through the airport or the security checkpoints, or on aircraft. These plants are not on TSA’s Prohibited Items List and are not part of the recent changes made to the Prohibited Items List. TSA’s Office of Civil Rights and Liberties has prepared the above information.”

We are impressed that the TSA has their Office of Civil Rights and Liberties try and make advisories like this. From some of their actions we’ve read about, one would think they don’t produce any useful literature. For those of you who are interested, the TSA’s Civil Rights Policy can be found here. If you have been discriminated against, here is their contact information.

Now, the Jewish holiday of Succot is over…although we are still in the midst of the long Muslim holiday, Ramadan.
We hope that the TSA will keep on top of methods of religious observance that might otherwise raise suspicions, and properly educate its personnel.