Audio: Tefillin Boy and Parents Discuss Last Week’s Incident

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caleb-leibowitz[Audio below.] spoke this morning with Mr. Glen Leibowitz, father of Caleb Leibowitz, the 17-year-old boy whose tefillin-wearing led to the diversion of a flight last week, as reported here. Mr. Leibowitz, who spoke from his Harvard Court home in White Plains, NY, said that he has discussed the incident numerous times over the past few days and referred us to the interview he did last night with Zev Brenner on the Talkline Communications Network. wishes mazel tov to Glen and Amy who recently celebrated their wedding anniversary.

We present the audio of last night’s interview here on The first segment features Zev speaking with Caleb and his sister, Dalia. The second segment features a discussion with Glen and Amy Leibowitz, Caleb’s parents. Click below to listen:

Caleb and Dalia Leibowitz:

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Glen and Amy Leibowitz:

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{Noam Newscenter}


  1. Poor boy how is he supposed to know what his actions are gonna lead to and he is a boy that trying to do the right thing as his 11th grade rebbe said so really poor boy I feel like crying for him he went through so much unwanted attention as a result of it but the the lesson has to be learned for the men that you cannot daven on the plane with your tfilin those days are over we live in a world thats very very dangerous

  2. Yashar Koach Caleb and Dalia, you made a tremendous Kiddush Hashem. Don’t feel bad about the uncomfortable aspects of the incident. Try to appreciate that the Inyan of Tefilin was broadcast to the entire country in your Zechus. I am certain that many Jews will look into the matter and put on Tefilin, perhaps for the first time. And perhaps there will be some that have neglected the Mitzva for a long time that will be inspired to take it up again.

  3. sg #3 is 100% correct.

    Everyone should daven on a plane with Tefilin. It will spread the good word and be mekadesh shem shmayim.

  4. I don’t get the whole problem here. Why is it OK for an Arab even to go visit Heads of State with his signature head covering and we Lehavdil can’t go on an airplane with ours.

  5. #5: I didn’t know that they prohibited people from wearing their “signature head covering” on the planes. I’ve traveled numerous times, and I’m always wearing my black hat, and my wife is wearing her shaitel. Never a problem.

    Tefillin is not the signature head covering of a Jew. And even so, I am sure that thousands of people have worn tefillin on planes and have never had trouble. There has no been one ignorant flight attendant that caused trouble. I’m sure that because of the publicity this incident has generated, all flight attendants will become much more educated, and this won’t happen again.

    Please don’t make mountains out of molehills.

  6. It is important for teachers to make
    their students aware of current events.

    Given the current situation in the world, it is not a good idea to put on
    Tefillin in such a situation. Most people
    don’t know what Tefillin are. It is therefore
    understandable that flight attendants would be
    frightened or concerned when faced with such
    an occurrence. (For us it is routine—no big
    deal; for others it is unusual and suspicious.)

    At least, permission should be asked
    and if denied passengers must cooperate.
    (Don’t forget about terrorism; flight attendants and security personnel are expected
    to react when unusual behavior is

    Aside from common sense, halacha does
    allow for flexibility in such cases.
    (See BT Berachos 30a, Shulchan Aruch 94)

    Although the above does not deal with
    donning Tefillin, there is a discussion about
    traveling. The ruling does not require the
    traveler to stand up or dismount in order to
    “daven”. Doing so would impede proper
    concentration. (There is a khumra cited to
    try to stand at those junctures in the
    liturgy requiring “hah-kreeos” and
    “pseeohs”. But under the circumstances
    dealt with here, it would probably be
    better to pray while seated. (Of course
    if you get permission–no problem.
    Still you shouldn’t block the aisles
    when you’re “davening”—derech eretz
    (consideration for others is also part of
    our Torah.)

    Aside from donning Tefillin, standing
    up to daven might also be cause for
    concern in this tense climate. (People
    should definitely get permission from
    security or flight attendants to avoid
    a misunderstanding.)

    Putting on Tefillin is important; but in an emergency this Mitzvah can be performed later in the day. Rambam describes
    tefillah as “Avodah Sheh Beh Lave”—service of
    the heart. Therefore, the main thing is the
    “Kavanah”. One can certainly have proper kavanah while praying seated.


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