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Public Prayer

Should El AL allow prayers on the P.A. system?


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Published: December 22, 2013


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Visitor Comments: 42

(34) DAS1951, January 7, 2014 4:16 PM

The Rabbi is Right

I have flown on many airlines, El Al included, in many places, and I think the Rabbi is right.
There is no place for any religious messages to be broadcast over the public address system.

As has been pointed out, the Traveller's Prayer is in the in-flight magazine and there is nothing to stop you bringing your own text or audio recording. Plus, if you are coming from outside Lod (which most people will be) then those who care will probably have said the prayer already when leaving home.

By the way El Al is not a Jewish airline undertaking a Jewish flight. It is a regular Israeli business and is the main airline of a secular state. Just because every Jew thinks he/she 'owns' it does not make it so.

Yes, it serves kosher food as a routine to cater easily for the bulk of its passengers, and it will serve Glatt kosher for those who are not happy with the standard food, but then just about every airline will provide kosher on demand, at least on longer flights.

I recall when preparing to land on a domestic flight in Pakistan the flight deck would announce "Inshallah we shall shorlty land in ...". I suppose the majority of the passengers thought nothing of it but my (admittedly not entirely serious) reaction was something like "what, is the captain consulting the Koran for landing instructions?"...

(33) LInda Robinson, January 3, 2014 11:03 AM

What's the big deal?

I get mildly irritated every time the stewardess explains to me how to close my seat belt.
I get REALLY annoyed when the co-pilot wakes me up to tell me what country we are flying over. Why is there no outcry over these announcements? Why are people soooooo irritated by a 3 minute prayer? What's wrong with a Jewish prayer on a Jewish airline flying to a Jewish state? I would actually find it quite comforting and don't understand why people are so irritated over it and why they can't just put their earplugs on. What's the big deal?

(32) Sarah Vorchheimer, December 30, 2013 12:50 PM

The Printed Option

בס"ד
Many years ago I flew El Al when leaving Israel (the only time I ever went overseas) and our little flight kit included a printed Tefillat Haderekh, including the bit for flying. That seemed totally appropriate. One could quietly and with full devotion say this tefillah, but the recitation was not forced upon anyone.

(31) Anonymous, December 30, 2013 5:10 AM

In Hashem's wings

Rabbi Salomon, I do respect your opinion about the recent complaints regarding prayers in the El Al plane. However, I fully agree with comment # 26 posted by Mr. B. A. Donnelly. A prayer to safeguard a trip while flying inside El Al should not offend anyone. If the offended look at the history of even the name El Al, they will find that the name El Al (two prepositions in Hebrew), came from the Bible and it means "upward"; "to the sky"; or interpreted as "God above". The name was inspired in September of 1948 when the newly established State of Israel launched its national airline with a single four engine C-54 military airplane for which they needed a name. They turned to the Bible for a name, and found "El Al" in a phrase in the book of Hosea (11.7), and were inspired by it. The prayer in the plane would complement the airline name itself and perhaps served as protection by Hashem during the trip, and for a safe and sound arrival of its people to its destination, whether they were Jewish or not. A prayer should always be embraced and welcome in EL AL. Those who would not like to pray for safety and for Hashem guidance to the pilots who are responsible of carrying hundreds of peoples under their wings, do not need to participate in the prayers if they do not want to, but they should not be bothered by it either. "V'ami tlu'im l'meshuvati, v'el al yikra'uhu yahad lo yeromem." ("And my people are bent to backsliding from me; although they called them to [el] the most High [al], none at all would exalt him"). Thank you very much Rabbi Salomon for a truly interesting topic.

Devorah, December 31, 2013 5:05 AM

Agree w/#31

I agree with #31. It is hard to imagine that a SMALL prayer like the wayfarer's prayer could cause so much dissension. WOW!!! It reminded me that Hashem commanded us to be separate and a light unto the nations. It also reminded me that H- does like prayer and wants us to be DIFFERENT. Prayer makes us different. I wonder what Hashem would think? Wouldn't a MINION be better than one praying? Wouldn't collective voices be better than one praying? I don't think we have to cave in to the demands of the few. Maybe if we tore down the high places we would see a greater outpouring of Hashem's Light and Presence giving us GREATER protection, clearing away the danger from the borders, the push button wars, anti-Semitism and dissension amongst ourselves. May Hashem be EXALTED EVERYWHERE!!! :)

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