Thursday, June 30, 2022

In “Chesed at the Airport … and in Our Lives” (June 16, 2022), Michael Feldstein recounts a recent “Mi ki amcha Yisrael” moment involving a man who graciously agreed to check-in someone else’s overweight baggage as his own at Ben Gurion Airport, even though he didn’t personally know the frum young woman whom the bag belonged to (although they apparently “knew many people in common”) and even though he was flying to JFK and the bag’s owner was flying to Newark.

While I would generally agree that our community’s propensity for random acts of chesed to strangers is something to be celebrated, I would suggest that checking through a stranger’s bag at the airport is a potential tragedy waiting to happen. There’s a reason why Ben Gurion security always asks travelers if they have been approached to take someone else’s bags (especially for someone not traveling on the same flight). Numerous terrorist incidents in Israel have demonstrated the unfortunate reality that it’s not that hard to fake looking and talking like a frum person, and with a few Google and Facebook searches, someone could easily learn to play a passing round of “Jewish geography.”

Jamin Koslowe
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