Tonight I fly from Chicago back to New York, armed with freshly laundered clothes, and a lulav and etrog. Last year when I took my lulav through security one of the guards asked me to take it out of the case and show her what I used it for. On the one hand: reasonable, since the ends of the palm frond can be sharp. On the other hand: very annoying. Luckily, this year the Transportation Security Administration has issued an official sanction for Jews who want to bring lulavim and etrogim on airplanes:
The travel period for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins approximately on Wednesday, September 30, 2009, and ends approximately on Tuesday, October 13, 2009.
Observant Jewish travelers may carry four plants â€“ a palm branch, myrtle twigs, willow twigs, and a citron â€“ in airports and through security checkpoints. These plants are religious articles and may be carried either separately or as a bundle. Jewish travelers may be observed in prayer, shaking the bundle of plants in six directions.
The workforce should note that TSAâ€™s screening procedures do not prohibit the carrying of such agricultural items through the airport or security checkpoints, or on airplanes. These plants are not on TSAâ€™s Prohibited Items List. And, as always, TSA is committed to treating all passengers, including passengers who may be observing Sukkot, with respect and dignity during the screening process.
I am about to go print that so I can stash it with my etrog when the time comes. Let’s just pray my pitom doesnâ€™t fall off in transit (wooâ€”that sounds kind of dirtyâ€¦) (also, little known fact: according to many rabbis, if the pitom falls off after the first two days you can continue to use that etrog).