The Observant Astronomer

The passing scene as observed by an observant Jew, who daylights as an astronomer.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Light Travelling

What with the new travel restrictions, Shabbos we got into a discussion of the practicalities of travelling without cabin baggage, especially on long flights. At that point it wasn't clear that the no-baggage requirement only held on the UK to US flights. So what, we wondered, would a person do if he were flying to, say, Australia? It's a 20-hour flight from the UK, you'll have to daven shacharis at least once, usually twice, along the way, not to mention mincha and maariv. So you'd better have the siddur memorized, because you can't take it on the plane. That's possible, but memorization isn't going to help you with tefillin. Skipping the mitzvah would be a victory to the Islamists, so what to do?

Option 1: Somebody, Chabad say, puts a carefully tested pair of tefillin on every plane. Just in case. Be generous, Rashi and Rabbenu Tam. Also a set of straps for lefties. Some siddurim too, of various nusachs.

Option 2: On Shabbos you could wear tefillin in the street because they are a garment. So the solution is to wear your tefillin onto the plane. We should resurrect the custom of wearing them constantly. Tallis too. Then they become recognized religious garb and we can't be prevented from bringing them wherever we want to.

Books are also banned, unless they're purchased on the other side of security. So we need to get all the airport bookshops to sell small siddurim, tehillim etc. along with all the newspapers and other travel necessities.

Option 3: The authorities finally get their act together and recognize who the real threat is. Just a clue: It isn't observant Jews, certainly not those travelling with a bunch of children. We aren't the ones liable to impregnate a holy book with explosives. So ban the exploding Koran's, not the Chumashim.


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3:40 p.m., August 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't observant Jews...

Yes, but how are they to know who is and isn't an "observant Jew"? Or who is and isn't an Islamic terrorist? Please don't forget not all Jews are lily white skinned Russian decedents - Arab Jews with their brown skin and semitic features are perhaps the closest thing to the original real deal, my friend. More than one homicide bomber has dressed like an ultra-Orthodox Jew in Israel to sneak onto a bus - a stick-on beard and hat makes you look the part and a big kapota provides a lot of room for explosives.


9:16 p.m., August 15, 2006  

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