Sunday, January 24, 2010

Of all the things for people to panic over…


Jewish date:  9 Shevaṭ 5770 (Parashath Beshallaḥ).

Today’s holiday:  Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (Roman Catholicism).

A pair of tefillin.Image of tefillin via Wikipedia

Today’s topic:  You may have heard about this story already:  “Jewish religious item leads to false bomb scare on U.S. plane”.  This is a case in which someone on an airplane panicked over someone’s tefillin (AKA phylacteries), which are black leather boxes with straps which observant Jewish men wear (mostly) while praying.  This is a sign that some people need a basic religious education, if for no other reason than to know what sort of practices are harmless and not worth panicking over.  “The Comedy of the Teffilin Bomber”, pokes fun at the utter absurdity of the incident—and it really is absurd since tefillin are a horrible design for something meant to be dangerous.  Putting on tefillin involves strapping them on one’s head and weaker arm and is not easily hidden.  Someone who is trying to commit an act of terrorism, on the other hand, is going to try to keep it secret until it is too late; actual terrorists conceal their explosives under their clothes and hope no one finds them.  Furthermore, the vast majority of religious terrorists are Muslim.  Jewish terrorists are rare and have no interest in attacking the United States; their targets have been Muslims.  A word to airline security:  Stop panicking over things which are harmless and assuming anyone doing anything the least bit unusual is dangerous.  Start asking the Israelis how to detect actual terrorists and stop harassing everyone else.


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