TSA prepares for Passover travelers

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is preparing for an increase in travelers who require special attention over the Jewish Passover holiday next week.

The agency said it was making special preparations to prepare its employees to be sensitive to travelers who are observing the religious holiday, which is scheduled to last from April 14-22 this year.

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“Our workforce is aware of the unique items carried by individuals and religious practices individuals may engage in while traveling,” the TSA said in a statement that was posted on its website.

“This may include reading of religious text or participating in prayer rituals,” the TSA statement continued. “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.”

Lawmakers have often been critical of TSA’s airport security techniques. The agency came under fire this week for allegedly denying boarding to a mute passenger, although the TSA said it stopped the passenger from going through airport security because she did not have valid identification.

The TSA said it was expecting the heaviest travel to occur “the week prior to, during, and the week following the holiday.”