In advance of the weeklong Jewish festival of Sukkot, the Transportation and Security Administration reminded its airport screeners and the travelling public that Jewish travelers may carry the Four Species – a palm branch, myrtle twigs, willow branches, and a citron fruit known in Hebrew as an etrog – through security checkpoints and onboard planes.
The announcement appears to forestall incidents that tend to happen each year, especially at international gateways. During the holiday season, many of the travelers who carry the Four Species with them are Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical students en route to Jewish communities not traditionally served by full-time rabbis, where they assist in providing holiday services.
“TSA’s screening procedures do not prohibit the carrying of such agricultural items through the airport or security checkpoints, or on airplanes,” the federal agency announced Sept. 13. “These plants are not on TSA’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.”