A US airways flight was diverted to Philadelphia when the crew became concerned when a 17 year-old Jew was caught wearing his phylacteries.
The Orthodox Jewish teen tried to explain Jewish prayer ritual but his explanation did not satisfy the US crew already spooked by increased terror threats in the U.S.A.
The captain decided to land the flight in Philadelphia where passengers were questioned and the plane thoroughly searched. After the inspection the boy was not detained.
Rabbi Shmuel Greenberg, the boy’s pastor, said, “Nobody would assume it would cause such a panic. I guess everything creates panic.”
The teenager’s grandmother hoped Americans might soon get up-to-date on Jewish custom so that they do not over-react to them.
The Jewish Virtual Library explains: “Tefillin are two small black boxes with black straps attached to them; Jewish men are required to place one box on their head and tie the other one on their arm each weekday morning. Tefillin are biblical in origin, and are commanded within the context of several laws outlining a Jew’s relationship to God. “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a frontlet between your eyes” (Deuteronomy 6:5-8).