WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration said its employees are aware of Jewish needs during Passover and will accommodate requests for delicate handling of religious items. The statement also noted the fragility of matzah.
“Our workforce is aware of the unique items carried by individuals and religious practices individuals may engage in while traveling,” said a statement posted April 2. “This may include reading of religious text or participating in prayer rituals. Observant travelers may be wearing a head covering, prayer shawl, and phylacteries — in Hebrew, kippah, tallit, and tefillin.” The TSA also said it is aware that there will be increased travel between April 14 and April 22.
“Some travelers will be carrying boxes of matzah, which are consumed as part of the Passover ritual,” it said.
“Matzah can be machine or handmade and are typically very thin and fragile, and break easily,” the release said. “Passengers traveling with religious items, including handmade matzoh, may request a hand inspection by the TSO of the items at the security checkpoint.” TSO is the abbreviation for transport security officer.
Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella group for Orthodox congregations, expressed its “profound thanks” for the notice.
“We have no doubt that TSA’s efforts to educate the public and its personnel on religious issues will go far in avoiding misunderstandings and mishaps,” said the group’s Washington director, Rabbi Abba Cohen. “The agency has been deeply sensitive to our community’s needs and concerns on this and many issues.”