Daily Israel Report

TSA: Lulavim and Etrogim Can Be Carried Through Airports

Jews traveling with lulavim and etrogim during Sukkot will be able to carry them through US airports.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/20/2010, 5:11 AM / Last Update: 9/20/2010, 5:07 AM

Shimon Cohen

The holiday of Sukkot begins on Wednesday evening. Jews around the world will be spending the week living in their booths as commanded by the Torah.

One of the commandments associated with Sukkot is the daily waving of the Four Species (the Lulav, Hadass, Aravah, and the Etrog) during morning prayers. The Four Species sometimes present a problem for Jews travelling abroad during this time period, as they may seen as agricultural items which may be thought of by security staff at airports as being prohibited.

However, this year the national Transportation Security Administration has said that Jews will be able to carry their lulavim and etrogim through US airports without being stopped by security.

In a special alert that was issued last weel, the TSA said that Jewish travelers are allowed to carry the Four Species through the airport and security checkpoints from September 19 until October 4, a period designated as the Sukkot travel period.

“TSA’s screening procedures do not prohibit the carrying of such agricultural items through the airport or security checkpoints, or on airplanes,” said the statement. “TSA is committed to treating all passengers, including passengers who may be observing Succot, with respect and dignity during the screening process.”

The TSA reiterated that the plants associated with the Four Species are not on its Prohibited Items list.

Last week it was reported that more than 300 Etrogim without a government permit and on which taxes hadn’t been paid as required by law were siezed by Ben Gurion Airport customs staff. The Etrogim were found in the possession of an Israeli couple who had arrived in Israel on a flight from Paris, and were  found as part of a special blitz conducted by customs officials during the period around Rosh Hashanah, aimed at cracking down on individuals who pass through customs without declaring the goods they are carrying.