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Transportation authority teaching workers about tefillin

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has taken steps to educate its workers about tefillin.

Information about the nature, content and use of the religious item is now incorporated into briefing materials for U.S. security officials.

The action comes at the urging of Rabbi Abba Cohen, Washington director and counsel of Agudath Israel of America, who called the TSA’s action "a welcome development that should go far in clearing up potential misunderstandings on the part of agency employees and the public regarding a religious article that Jewish travelers sometimes may carry or wear aboard aircraft."

Cohen had raised the tefillin issue with the TSA several years ago when a number of Orthodox Jewish travelers encountered problems with airport security.

In January, a US Airways flight from New York to Louisville was diverted to Philadelphia when a 17-year-old passenger’s tefillin were mistaken for a bomb.
 

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