TSA Issues Matzoh Advisory

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The Transportation Security Administration has issued a travel alert on the increase in Jewish travelers during the Passover holiday this week, noting that these individuals may be carrying “unique items” such as head coverings, prayer shawls, or matzoh bread.

“As the Jewish holiday of Passover approaches, TSA anticipates an increase in the volume of individuals traveling,” said the alert posted on the agency’s website.

“Some travelers will be carrying boxes of matzoh, which are consumed as part of the Passover ritual,” noted the TSA, referring to the unleavened bread Jews traditionally eat on Passover to represent their liberation from slavery under the Pharaoh over 3,000 years ago.

“Matzoh can be machine or handmade and are typically very thin and fragile, and break easily,” warned the TSA. “Passengers traveling with religious items, including handmade matzoh, may request a hand inspection by the TSO of the items at the security checkpoint.”

The TSA also advised “Observant travelers may be wearing a head covering, prayer shawl, and phylacteries—in Hebrew, kippah, tallit, and tefillin.”

Full travel alert below:

As the Jewish holiday of Passover approaches, TSA anticipates an increase in the volume of individuals traveling. This year, Passover will begin on Monday, April 14, at sundown and will end on April 22, 2014 at nightfall, with heaviest travel occurring the week prior to, during, and the week following the holiday. Our workforce is aware of the unique items carried by individuals and religious practices individuals may engage in while traveling. This may include reading of religious text or participating in prayer rituals. Observant travelers may be wearing a head covering, prayer shawl, and phylacteries — in Hebrew, kippah, tallit, and tefillin. Some travelers will be carrying boxes of matzoh, which are consumed as part of the Passover ritual. Matzoh can be machine or handmade and are typically very thin and fragile, and break easily. Passengers traveling with religious items, including handmade matzoh, may request a hand inspection by the TSO of the items at the security checkpoint.