Video: וְרָאוּ כָּל עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ כִּי שֵׁם ה’ נִקְרָא עָלֶיךָ וְיָרְאוּ מִמֶּךָּ – אלו תפילין שבראש – Boy Taking Off Tefillin Sets Off Bomb Scare, Diverts Flight From La Guardia

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tefillin[Update below. Photos of boy below. Video below.] A flight from New York’s La Guardia Airport was diverted to Philadelphia after a bomb scare this morning. US Air flight 3079 from LaGuardia to Louisville was diverted to Philadelpia after a male passenger removed tefillin after davening after takeoff.

The removal of the tefillin prompted a bomb scare aboard the plane. All 15 passengers and 3 crew members aboard were safely evacuated after the sudden landing, said airline spokesman Jim Olson.

The 17-year-old boy wearing the tefillin was traveling with his sister from New York back to Louisville.

The commuter plane that normally seats 50 passengers is operated by Chautauqua Airlines and flies under the US Airways name. The plane departed LaGuardia at 7:25 a.m. and landed in Philadelphia at about 8:50 a.m. surrounded by Homeland Security and Philadelphia Police Bomb Squad.

The passenger was removed from the plane without incident and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said officials said the plane was searched, with negative findings.

The passenger is a U.S. citizen, was questioned by the TSA, and was not charged.

The flight continued to its original destination, and the passenger involved in the incident was permitted to continue on the flight.

Update: The following is a photo of the boy which appeared in a video report from WLKY TV:

tefillin-boy

Click below for a video report of the incident:

[media id=509 width=400 height=300]

{CBS News/NY Daily News/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}

79 COMMENTS

  1. Customs of Gedolei Torah During Flights.

    Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, author of Shevet Halevi:

    When the “fasten seatbelts” sign is lit, one should sit down and seated. One should refrain from praying in large groups; it is preferable to pray in small groups in the seating area. The same is true for Shemoneh Esrei. If there is a possibility of standing beside one’s seat, not in the aisles, then that is preferable. If this is not possible the Shemoneh Esrei prayer can be recited while seated. If the fasten seatbelts sign goes on. one should immediately sit down in his place and continue Shemoneh Esrei while seated.

    (For the full response see page 26)
    Click here to read moreThe Custom of the Rishon Letzion, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef:

    (During a flight) Rabbi Ovadia Yosef customarily prays individually and not together with a group so as not to disturb others, for fear of robbing another person’s sleep. (Halachic Guide for the Passenger, Rabbi Rafael Avraham Suaya, Chapter 9, Para. 1, p. 76)
    Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. ob”m:

    Praying During a Flight – Sitting Down

    “One who prays on a plane during a flight should recite the Shemoneh Esrei while seated in his place and not while standing in the aisles, where he will disturb others trying to pass. In any case, the Rav was not supportive of conducting minyanim during a flight, because it disturbs the rest of the passengers around them.”
    (Halichos Shlomo. p. 95)

  2. Guidance from Poskim Regarding Prayers During the Flight

    Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ob”m:

    While praying on a flight it is preferable to sit.

    A person praying on his own during a flight: if there is a chance that this will bother others, it is preferable to sit (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ob”m. Igros Moshe Orach Chaim, 4, 20.)
    Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ob”m:

    Shemoneh Esrei should be recited in one’s seat.

    In the sefer Halichos Shlomo, by Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ob”m, we found direct guidelines on the practical applications of prayers during the flight: “One praying on a flight should recite the Shemoneh Esrei while sitting in his seat and not standing in the aisles, where he can disturb those wishing to pass. In any case, the Rav was not supportive of conducting minyanim during a flight, because it disturbs the rest of the passengers around them” (Halichos Shlomo, p. 95)
    Response from Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, author of the Shevet Halevi:

    One can pray Shemoneh Esrei while seated in his seat.

    When the light goes on, one must sit down, even in the middle of his prayers I was asked regarding prayer arrangements in mid-flight. One should refrain from praying in large groups; it is preferable to pray in small groups in the seating area, as long as there is no problem of indecent exposure. The same is true for Shemoneh Esrei. If there is a possibility of standing beside one’s seat, not in the aisles. then that is preferable. If this is not possible, because the aisle is narrow or it bothers other passengers, the Shemoneh Esrei prayer can be recited while seated. In any case, if the “fasten seatbelts” sign goes on, one should immediately sit down in his place and continue Shemoneh Esrei while seated. If a group is praying when the seatbelts sign goes on, they should immediately obey with no delay, even if they are in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei. (From a response to El Al.)

  3. olim have paskened that you are supposed to daven in your seat. If this individual were so frum, he would have asked his Rav before making a chilul Hashem.

  4. What’s the peleh? Chazal have already told us “v’rau kol amei haaretz ki shem Hashem nikra alecha v’yaru mimeka, eilu tefillin sheb’rosh!” They saw the tefillin and they got scared. He’s obviously a gevaldige Baal Medreiga if he got that reaction! 🙂

  5. A. When the captain of the flight decides that passengers must sit and fasten their seatbelts because of a risk of danger, one must obey and sit down, even if he is in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei.

    B. If one refuses to obey these instruction, it seems that he does not fulfill the obligation of tefillah because it is considered a mitzvah haba b’aveirah (a mitzvah performed through a sin), about which Chazal teach that one does not fulfill his obligations. He also brings about derision of the Torah by others and effects a chillul Hashem.

    C. There is no transgression in the act of sitting down. One must only refrain from talking, but he may sit down.

    D. When one sits down, he should stop praying and wait several minutes until it is possible to return to where he was standing and continue praying. Even if the amount of time that passes exceeds toch kdei dibbur, there is no hefsek in the act of sitting, and after the break one can continue praying. (From a response to El Al; also published in the Kanfei Ruach booklet).

  6. All you people are applying the term Chillul Hashem to a person who is totally innocent.
    According to all you people a person who wears tzitzis in the street is also making a chillul Hashem.

    Shame on all of you for condenming a religious Jew!!!

  7. The real Chillul Hashem are all of the people who said nothing when an innocent person was being hounded about his tefillin and didn’t bother explaining that it is a standard religious article.

  8. TO ALL THOSE THAT SAID THAT I WAS A CHILUL HASHEM WE WEREN’T THERE AND WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE STORY WAS SO LETS NOT START JUDGING.

  9. “A flight from New York’s La Guardia Airport was diverted to Philadelphia after a bomb scare this morning. US Air flight 3079 from LaGuardia to Louisville.”

    LOUISVILLE? What kind of Jewish community is in Louisville? Has anyone even heard of the place?

  10. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach hold that if you’re davening on a plane and the seatbelt sign comes on, you must sit down. Otherwise, it is a chillul Hashem. Remember, davening is Miderabanan whereas chillul hashem is Mideoraisah.

  11. I chapped what happened. The plane crew all wear Rashi tefillin. This guy put on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin. The crew never heard of Rabbeinu Tam tefillin. “What is that?” they asked. When he said Rabbeinu Tam tefillin, they got really scared, thinking it is the name of a terrorist group or something. So they quickly diverted the flight.

  12. What’s the peleh? Chazal have already told us “v’rau kol amei haaretz ki shem Hashem nikra alecha v’yaru mimeka, eilu tefillin sheb’rosh!” They saw the tefillin and they got scared. He’s obviously a gevaldige Baal Medreiga if he got that reaction!

  13. I am USAIR gold Elite frequent flyer. I usually try to daven in the club before my flight if their is enough time, but when their isn’t, I daven on the plane. All the flight attendants seem to know what tefillin are and I never had a problem.
    I suspect the problem in this case was that he was flying a commuter airline that flies CRJ-50s. Those planes have nowhere to stand and be out of the way, so I (and I guess every else in my situation) never daven on them.

  14. To all the comments talking about how to daven on a plane: nowhere does it say that the boy was standing. If you notice, none of these responsa say a word about tefillin- nothing about not wearing them b/c it shouldn’t even be an issue. The kid was sitting in his seat with his tefillin on. How is that wrong, even according to the cited responsa? And seriously, a flight attendant working out of LGA airport really ought to know what tefillin are.

  15. Similar story happend to me, I had to daven Shacharit in the Airport of Calgary, Alberta, Canada (which has a very. very small community [and an even smaller observant community (three shuls)]), I had finnished daveinig (I am sephardic so thus I do wear a Tallit while davening even though I am not married), Wraped up my Teffilin, and then Proceded to fold My Tallit, put everything except my Teffilin bag in my Carry on Backpack (did not have enough time as we were boarding), a Muslim man (Muhammed is now fired from customs canada) Told me to open the bag so I did, He asked me to explain what the Boxes were, I told him, he then started to Pry te Shel Rosh Open untill I pryed the device out of his hands and I took My Teffilin back and he managed to pry up some of the Leather.

  16. to #3: Phylactaries is one of those useless words. Trust me, there isn’t a single person in the entire world that if you tell him “tefillin” and he doesn’t know what you’re talking about, and you then tell him “Phylactaries”, and he says, “Aha! Now I know what you mean!”

    If they’re educated about tefillin, then the Phylactary word means nothing. If they’re not educated about tefillin, they don’t know what phylactaries are either.

  17. I was recently on a plane and a man grabbed the tefillin out of my hand as i was wrapping them, I promise, no exaggeration, he was soooo scared of me, i took it back calmly, and explained that i was praying, he then asked me to take them off, i declined of course noting that i had every right to pray, to which a muslim flight attendant came to the rescue calming the passengers telling them that i was “ok” and no harm would be done by my prayer….
    in as much as people should be sensitive to others religious belief, we also have to mindful and explain ourselves properly to those very fearful…..

  18. I just want to say that had this happened in the Midwest or the West Coast, all of you would be saying, “In New York City nobody would have looked twice at the boy because its a normal thing.”
    WELL THIS HAPPENED IN NYC! The groiseh NYC! What losers!

  19. My tefillin bag and tefillin once set off the metal detector at Munich Airport. They were ready to take the tefillin apart until I remembered my plastic bag of change for tzedaka.
    After rechecking by metal detector they let the tefillin thru. whew!!
    Moral of story: give paper currency for tzedaka not metal.

  20. shame on all those that are embarrased to be jewish!
    all the responsa does not say one is not alowed to sit in his seat and wear tefilin… that’s why you guys are commenting here and not learning in yeshiva ..you have no lomdus.

  21. He had every right to daven with tefilin on the plane. Period. There is nothing wrong with it, and it is done ALL the time.

    He had ZERO REASON to think it would be a problem, before he put on his tefilin, as people do it all the time without issue.

  22. He had every right to daven with tefilin on the plane. Period. There is nothing wrong with it, and it is done ALL the time.

    He had ZERO REASON to think it would be a problem, before he put on his tefilin.

  23. a yeshiva boy traveling on a bus in the 1960s with his tzitzits out was approached by another jew whom was bothered with seeing his tzitzit in the open, so he approached the innocent boy and asked him if he had davened already to which the boy said yes of course,why? the man then told him if you davened already why dont you put your tzitzit away, why are they still in the open? the boy responded by asking the man if he ate breakfast already to which the man said of course, why? so the boy said if you ate already why dont you keep your mouth shut.
    The moral to all those complainig about a yid wearing teffilin on a plane. the goy can have a box with wires going to his ears on a plane but the yid must refrain from all types of jewish activity? he wasnt rude he didnt make a chillul hashem none of the other passingers even saw him (watch the news clip on this story)so whats the chilul hashem what did he do wrong
    this is 2010 every flight attendent and every pilot knows about teffilan
    wh dont have to hide our religion anymore its not stalin russia
    the end will be that the stewart will admit that she overreacted for trying to look like a hero.

  24. If the Airline staff was really informed on security issues, they would know what teffilin are. Kind of scary to see how ignorant airline staff is about something as common as tefillin

  25. “was mistaken for a teenaged man on the flight wrapping himself in something that could blow the plane up. Reportedly, a female flight attendant had never seen tefillin before”

    Oh, so she skipped that day of Hebrew School?

  26. The whole flight was 2 hours long. I am sorry, but on these flights, there is no reason to have to daven. Daven before, daven after, daven whenever
    but don’t make a ruckus for no reason
    this was stupid, silly aand should not have happened

  27. STATEMENT FROM TSA:

    “Per standard procedures, TSA and law enforcement personnel met the flight. The disruptive passenger was interviewed, the plane was swept with negative findings.”

  28. Someone just emailed me the following headline, apparently from some website:

    “Tefillin Prompts Scare on Flight 3079: What is a Tefillin?”

  29. “After takeoff, a teenager on the flight strapped on a tefillin for the purpose of prayer and a female flight attendant became concerned as she had never seen one before.”
    Why aren’t flight crews trained in this? the flight was from new york!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! there are jews in ny aren’t there?!

  30. Traditional Jewish prayer box prompts bomb scare on South Shore train

    A Jewish passenger on a South Shore commuter train prompted a bomb scare on Wednesday when the traditional prayer box worn on his forehead was mistaken for an explosive device.

    Bob Byrd, chief of the Northwest Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s Transit Police, told the Chesterton Tribune today that the incident began as Train 108 left the East Chicago station en route for Chicago. Several passengers sitting near the man became suspicious after observing what looked to them like a miner’s hat with a box in place of a lamp and wires sticking out of it.

    Those passengers alerted a collector, Byrd said, who checked out the passenger.

    The collector then alerted the conductor, who made contact with the man. The man advised the conductor that he was praying and then declined to answer any more questions.

    Possibly contributing to the confusion, Byrd said, was another passenger, apparently of Middle Eastern descent and wearing a turban, sitting in the next row. “For the people in that car the totality of this was too much for them to handle.”

    The conductor—who noted that the wires were really a strip of cloth-like material which wound down the man’s arm and around his hand—was not satisfied with the passenger’s response and contacted the METRA Police, who boarded the train at the 57th Street station in Chicago. There the man advised officers that he is Jewish, lives in New York City, and was conducting his normal morning prayers and wearing traditional religious garb.

    The officers thanked the man for his cooperation and apologized for inconveniencing him, Byrd said, and Train 108 completed its run to the Randolph Street station.

    Byrd did note that South Shore passengers are encouraged, under the “See Something, Say Some-thing” initiative, to report any unusual behavior or activity on the trains. “The passengers did an excellent job of seeing something that didn’t look right,” he said. “The train crew did an excellent job of following up on their concerns.”

    “In New York City,” Byrd added, “nobody would have looked twice at the gentleman. Here we appreciate the passengers’ response.”

  31. That’s nothing.
    I took off my gatkes and it prompted more then a bomb scare.

    I don’t believe a word of the story.
    Not one word of it.

  32. To commentor #19 that wondered what kind of Jewish community there is in Louisville, well, you need to get away from the east coast once in a while, and you will find that there are Orthodox Jewish communities in several cities in the United States. Louisville has a very nice community, a fine Orthodox xhul with minyanim three times a day, a beautiful setting.

    I do agree, though, that for people who need 24 hour a day access to Chap-a-Coronary-on-a-Bun or to Elbow-Your Way-To-The-Counter-Pizza or who enjoy waiting for the guy who parked in your driveway to show up, Louisville would not be the best place to live. But if you enjoy touring distilleries, or seeing the Lousiville Slugger factory, you might like to drop by for a few days.

  33. My understanding is, even if it was too early to put on Tefillin before the flight, he could have waited until they arrived in Louisville, even in the afternoon, if necessary.

  34. While the rov happens to be a Lubavitcher, the community is not.

    Oh, I forgot–once a year, the Frum shul there has a picnic, and they play Bluegrass music. Just call before you come, and you’ll be welcome. Try to find that in Vilyamsboorg.

  35. I love this headline from CBS News:

    Religious “Device” Prompts Bomb Scare Aboard Flight

    Device? I mean, that’s funny.

  36. #57:

    The guy made a kiddush haShem by being polite, so all the girls will run after him…

    P.S. I never knew that tefillin consists of something in the hand…

  37. What REALLY happened was that this was a 12 year old boy 2 weeks before his bar mitzva and the flight attendant didnt believe him that they were tefillin because his passport didnt have him yet at 13 years old, so they stopped off in Philly yeshiva and were mevarer the inyon.

  38. The pilot should have communicated with the airline HQ instead of landing and causing a rukus. Certainly they would have found a Jewish person who could have confirmed that Tefilin are a legitimate Jewish prayer implement.

  39. ive been to louisville on a road trip. there isnt much kosher food but the rabbi there is very nice. i recommend the bat factory for any baseball fan next bein hazmanim!

  40. In-Flight Prayer Brings Bomb Squad to Airport

    – A teenage airplane passenger using a Jewish prayer object caused a misunderstanding that led the captain to divert a Kentucky-bound plane to Philadelphia and prompted a visit from a bomb squad.

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

    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. 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 left LaGuardia Airport around 7:30 a.m. The plane landed without incident and was met by police, bomb-sniffing dogs 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 flight was carrying 15 passengers and three crew members; travelers were rebooked on other flights, US Airways spokesman Morgan Durrant said.

    The Republic statement said the airline would use the event “to further strengthen our commitment to both security and customer service.”

  41. i think it was a total kiddush hashem and u shud all be ashamed of urself who are we to judge? mabe he cudnt daven in the terminal? if everyone herd about a jew putting on teffilin on a plane its a major kiddush hashem!!!

  42. the poor guy was in his seat wearing tefilin, the poor attendant was afraid, whats there to fight and accuse about, i think its a beautiful story, they resolved the situation peacefully and civilly with understanding on both sides, a real kiddush hashem from the boys respectful manner!! P.S. those idiots who make fun of “Louisville”, go get a life, YOU are making a chillul hashem by spewing stupidity. (as chillul hashem is even more so in front of fellow jews).

  43. There could a bunch of reasons why he couldnt put on Tefillin before the flight. He had no reason to think anything major would come of this. To everyone who said he should ask his rav before being so frum, go ask mechila.

  44. 1) this week’s parsha has tefillin in it!!!
    2) kol havkavod to the tzadik kid may he have a huge zechus for this
    3) i think this is a sign that mashiach is coming – tefillin have been around for almost 2,000 years and today a huge number of people learned what they are.
    4) re the rabbi’s comments in the NYT article – yiddin are the only group who would speak in defense of those who supsected – just shows our true desire for shalom
    5) let’s show some ahavas yisrael which is the real antidote to all this….
    and thanks midwesterner for your comments!!

  45. We are all Jews so we cant understand why he would do this? However, how about an arab and his praying tools. Why should we question him??

  46. Rabosai!! Listen to the ABSURD.

    An ehrliche frum boy davening quietly in his seat on a plane, not disturbing anybody, behaving beatifully the way a Jew is supposed to, not behaving noisily or roudy like a goy of his age would be, and all the geniuses here are pondering if he was mechalel shem shamayim. But last week when Zaka was PROUDLY mechalel shabos befarhesia on an international level, splattered all over the news, they were making kidush hashem??!!!

    Is there a limit to the distortion?

    Where are our minimum priorities?!

    How did Bob Grant used to say – They’re sick out there & getting sicker!

    YHB

  47. to #63 trending
    How do you know that tefillin is the fourth most searched word on yahoo? I just checked it out and that is not true. it actually did not come up in the topp 20 yahoo or google searches for today.

  48. For G-d sake!!! The kid was SITTING in his place & donning tefillin, where does chilul hashem come in??? Some of these posts are downright ridiculous!

  49. 100’s of millions of people the world over saw the story on TV. The amount of Yidden who were reminded of Tefillin is as follows: If Yidden are, say, 1% of a particular population, then for every 100,000,000 who saw the news on TV, we can assume that 1,000,000 Yidden were reminded about Tefillin! That is quite an accomplishment for such a small price. The Google search news simply underscores that this result was not merely superficial, rather people searched for more. In addition, how many shluchim got air time or newspaper coverage about Tefillin! Also, the same amount of people were shown g’on Yaakov, a Yid who is not embarrassed to serve Hashem in the presence of the world. One more point, v’rau kol amai ha-aretz ki shem Hashem nikra alecha v’yaru memeka says the Gemarra eilu tefillin sheberosh. All of this happened when the parsha mentions tefillin for the first time. So, all in all, Hashem accomplished wonders through this bachur. He must have a special zechus. I hope he and his parents will realize all this.

  50. I agree that this was indeed a good thing. Sadly, too many Americans have been too sheltered, too naive, for way too long. But hopefully things are indeed changing…and perhaps this young man played his own small part in that.

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