The Washington Office of Agudath Israel of America has continued to collaborate closely with American government institutions.
The Department of Homeland Security will assist travelers carrying arba minim in avoiding potential issues.
Transport Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. The impending Sukkos holiday will see a rise in travel by people of the Jewish faith, many of whom will be carrying arba minim, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has informed its respective field personnel of this.
These details have also been made public by the authorities; see the TSA announcement here and the CBP notice here.
The alerts, which were distributed to federal employees at airports and border crossings, highlight the religious significance of these products and spell out the policies and procedures that would help allay any potential security and health concerns that the federal government may have.
Before these agency actions, a lack of understanding of Sukkos and the arba minim had resulted in several yearly instances of unintentional mishandling and abuse, including denial of admission, of these ritual artifacts.
The TSA Notice makes it clear that the arba minim carried through security checkpoints, on aircraft, or in airports is not listed on the “prohibited items list” and offers guidance for travelers who require “special accommodations” in relation to checkpoint screening.
The CBP Guidance provides specific information about the inspection procedure for personal sets of arba minim imported into the United States from other countries at specific ports of entry and emphasizes that the agency is “committed to treating all travelers, including travelers who may be observing Sukkot, with respect and dignity at all U.S. ports of entry.”
The continued consideration that these organizations have shown for the spiritual needs of our community has pleased us, according to Rabbi Abba Cohen, Washington Director and Vice President for Government Affairs at Agudath Israel.
“They are addressing our religious needs in a meaningful and appropriate manner.” In relation to the annual guidance, he also complimented his colleague Rabbi Ariel Sadwin for acting as the primary Agudah point of contact with those government agencies.
In order to familiarize themselves with the restrictions before going, passengers can print out or store a one-page handout from Agudath Israel of America on their phones.