Not a Joke (or: Three Jews Get on a Plane…)

March 14th, 2011

Inspired by Jewish prayer ritual alarms flight crew (Washington Post 3/14/11).

“The three passengers were praying aloud in Hebrew and were wearing what appeared to be leather straps on their foreheads and arms. This appeared to be a security threat, and the pilots locked down the flight deck and followed standard security procedures.” – Alaska Airlines spokesperson Bobbie Egan
“Flight 241 from Mexico City landed safely at its destination, Los Angeles International Airport, and was met by fire crews, foam trucks, FBI agents, Transportation Security Administration personnel and police dispatched as a precaution.” – Washington Post report


Alaskans are usually very polite,

Unless you’re a Jew saying prayers on an Alaska Airlines flight.

The flight attendant probably thought they were Muslim terrorists.

(They prayed in Hebrew, which of the same language roots as Arabic consists.)

When people don’t understand, we let our fear the blanks fill in.

(And by the way, those leather strap things are called tefillin.)

Fear and ignorance turns us into irrationals

(It probably didn’t help that the three guys were Mexican nationals).

Though this story may most readers amuse,

It’s not quite as funny for Muslims, or Jews.

And it certainly isn’t a joke,

When people use ignorance, fear to evoke.

Bobbie: I’d suggest Alaska Airlines try religious sensitivity training

(Much better than your current policy of customers detaining).

And Sarah and friends, I have to ask ‘ya—

Don’t you have Jews up there in Alaska?

You must have Jewish friends, since that community so much with you shares

(Your persecution has been so much like theirs).

Haven’t you seen pictures of the Wailing Wall?

Lots of people dress and pray like this there, you might recall.

You guys talk about how much you support Israel,

But you’re still afraid of what they in their kippah and tefillin conceal.


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