Man Ejected From Flight Because He Wouldn't Sit Down And Stop Praying

Praying is nice but you should try not to disrupt the entire flight with your holiness. WNBC says an Orthodox Jewish man got up from his seat while passengers were still boarding, and walked to the back of the United Airlines flight where he began praying. His friend said the prayers lasted approximately 2 minutes. When flight attendants asked the man to return to his seat so the plane could take off, he ignored them.

WNBC has an eyewitness report:

“He doesn’t respond to them, but his friends explain that once you start praying you can’t stop,” said Brafman, who was seated three rows away.

When the man finally stopped praying, he explained that he couldn’t interrupt his religious ritual and wasn’t trying to be rude. But the attendants summoned a guard to remove him, said Brafman, a writer who had been visiting New York to talk to publishers.

United confirmed that the man was removed from the flight and placed on another one.

Praying Passenger Removed From Flight At JFK
(Photo:Travelin’ Librarian)


Edit Your Comment

  1. flyingphotog says:

    Disrupting operation of an airline flight is a federal offense, and he’ll be booked with a felony.

  2. The considerate thing to do would be to explain IN ADVANCE what his needs were, so as to minimize misunderstandings and inconveniences to all involved.

    You expect adults to think and be perpective

  3. JustAGuy2 says:


    Clearly, given the text of the article, he won’t.

  4. ep5760 says:

    Poor summary of the original article. This occured with people STILL BOARDING. It’s not like they were held up by the man while trying to takeoff.

    Kinda an important detail to have been left out, no?

  5. zigziggityzoo says:

    The article claimed the aircraft left as scheduled… So he didn’t even disrupt the normal timeline.

    I think this is a violation of this person’s rights.

  6. “. . . he explained that he couldn’t interrupt his religious ritual and wasn’t trying to be rude.”

    I’m sorry, but having been a frequent (weekly) traveler of anywhere from 500-3000 miles a trip with almost always at least one layover I think this gentleman showed rudeness to everyone on the plane.

    It doesn’t sound like his prayers caused the delay of the plane, but as another passenger I’d have been irked at the potential that I could have missed a connection.

    Perhaps I am insensitive. . .

  7. ClayS says:

    I think so. He wasn’t delaying the boarding because he was all the way in the back. He didn’t obey the flight attendants when they told him to sit down, and they don’t tolerate insubordination.

  8. loganmo says:

    Shouldn’t the picture be that of “Air Israel, please clear the runway” from Airplane?

  9. Falconfire says:

    @ep5760: Everyone needs to be in their seats and seat belted BEFORE they can push off a gate. THATS THE LAW

    Sorry the guy was completely wrong as are you. He should have said his prayers in the terminal, or not said them at all, not on a boarding plane where he could restrict traffic because you know most planes the stewards are walking around in the back doing their job where he was praying.

    Thanks for playing though.

  10. ClayS says:

    I’ve been a frequent flier as well, and on practically every flight I’ve been irked by people taking their sweet time stowing baggage, standing around, etc. This guy praying the back of the plane is just one of many potential delays. The airline certainly had a right to throw him off, but they could have been a little tolerant as well. It was their decision.

  11. m1k3g says:

    This points out two very obvious facts.
    1. Airlines are stupid. Tell people that they need to be in their seat and not get up before they get on the plane.
    2. Religion, in general, promotes stupidity.

  12. Geminijinx07 says:

    If people were still boarding, he wasn’t delaying anything. He was an orthodox Jew, which means there are regular prayers to say at specific times – he’s not just going to not pray. From my reading of the article, the flight attendants got pissed that he wasn’t showing them due respect and booted him.

  13. scoosdad says:

    I’m just wondering what would have happened if prayer time for this gentleman had been timed to occur while the plane was descending for a landing. Would he have unbucked his seatbelt and left his seat to go to somewhere else to pray? Probably not, otherwise we would have heard of this happening more frequently. I travel a great deal and I’ve never ever seen anything like this happen onboard an airplane.

    It just seems like maybe personal exceptions to the prescribed timing of this are made all the time without inconveniencing others as this guy did. Any Hebrew scholars care to chime in? I’m curious to know if this guy was doing something “by the book” (no pun intended) that the rest of the Orthodox population tend to ignore in the modern age. Are local flights in the devout Moslem world, as another example, timed so that they avoid prayer time while in flight?

  14. ClayS says:

    There is a window of several hours for each prayer. I didn’t see the flight time, but with a five hour flight to SFO, he may have needed to pray on the plane. Might it have been better to wait until the plane was in the air…possibly.

  15. EyeHeartPie says:

    I also agree that this is a misleading title. If he had been standing in the back of the plane having a private phone conversation, which people said was very important and that he couldn’t be interrupted, he would have been treated exactly the same way, and possibly more harshly than this Orthodox Jew. People understand demands of religion.

  16. apotheosis says:


    You win a hundred internets.

  17. EyeHeartPie says:


    I know a bunch of Muslims, and they have separate rules for when they are traveling. For example, they can combine prayers (that would normally have to be done at different times) and do them at the same time, they can pray while sitting if necessary, the times that they must pray are a little more flexible, and the prayers are actually shorter when they are traveling.

  18. friendlynerd says:

    Here’s a thought, don’t start an un-interruptible prayer minutes before a plane is scheduled to take off.

    Somehow I doubt god would have minded much to wait a couple minutes.

  19. gtbernstein says:

    I was raised jewish and grew up going to an Orthodox synagogue. Even my Rabbi would have told the man that the praying could have waited for a more appropriate time.

    The religion is not so strict that things must be done at precisely a certain time. You try to do them at the specific time, IF POSSIBLE.

    I am not chastising this man for his faith, but for his misunderstanding of the rules of his faith. The interruption he caused is looked upon as selfishnes within the Jewish faith. And that is as much of a sin as not praying.

    The rules of the faith are not inflexible. Unfortunately, this man was.

    I don’t blame the airline one bit for what they did.

  20. xhx says:

    @oakie: Seems like a bit of a broad statement. How many Jews do you know?

  21. humphrmi says:

    @Geminijinx07: Uh, sorry, his requirements to pray at a specific time is his problem to work out, not the airlines. He should have scheduled his flight so as not to interrupt the flight boarding and pre-push safety check, which requires that everyone is in their seat.

    BTW I’m Jewish, I’ve prayed in my seat, and I’ve flown with Orthodox Jews who have prayed in their seat. I don’t get what this guy’s excuse was. But don’t blame Judaism, there are plenty of morons in every religion.

  22. char says:

    @oakie: And cheap too, amirite?

    /Note: the preceding was sarcasm

  23. bohemian says:

    If your disrupting public transit, work or traffic with your religious ritual your being a jerk. It doesn’t matter what religion it is. If you can’t do it without disrupting things or other people’s relative peace they just don’t.

    At least CTA will toss the train preachers off at the next stop.

  24. Smitherd says:

    Please. Since when is praying in the back disrupting the operation of the airline? If he had gone to the pilot and screamed “Turn or burn!!!” while messing with the controls, then that would be disrupting the flight. Other than something like that, no.

  25. Dashrashi says:

    @oakie: Any particular reason you’re being wildly offensive? Or just for shits and giggles?

  26. Traveshamockery says:

    @oakie: I swear, I see more offensive, racist, and arrogant statements from you than any other poster on these boards.

    It’s better to be silent and be thought a fool than to post and remove all doubt. Remember that.

  27. ColoradoShark says:

    @oakie: Anti-semitic much?
    Any other prejudices you’d like to air out?

  28. EyeHeartPie says:

    “Please. Since when is praying in the back disrupting the operation of the airline? If he had gone to the pilot and screamed “Turn or burn!!!” while messing with the controls, then that would be disrupting the flight. Other than something like that, no.”

    When a safety check requires everyone to be in their seats, refusing to go back to your seat is being disruptive.

    If he had gone to cockpit and done what you describe, that would be criminal, not merely disruptive. Security would have been called, he would be taken into custody and incarcerated.

  29. Nigromancer says:

    “not jews. they tend to exercise a level of entitlement most others could never get away with.”

    /checks oakie’s profile to see if he still has commenting status…

    “oakie has no friends.”

    /not surpised

  30. Traveshamockery says:

    Doesn’t Jezebel or one of the other Gawker sites have a weekly ban update on the posters that are disallowed from posting? I have this week’s nomination.

  31. EyeHeartPie says:


    And just to be clear, are you suggesting that if I were an Orthodox Jew, and I were crossing a street in a big city, and realized it was time for my prayer, that I could just stop in the middle of the street and start praying?

    Because that’s exactly what the man in the story was doing. He was delaying the travel of a large number of people for his own needs.

  32. Peeved Guy says:

    I truly hate when people do what I am about to do but it seems soooooo appropriate in this instance:

    @oakie: FAIL

  33. ScipioLHR says:

    I fly the Montreal-NY route pretty often for business, and things like this happen all the time – although generally they just stand up in their seats.

    For example, several months ago there was a group of maybe 10 Hasidic Jews who boarded together. Nothing untoward happened, but right as the plane powered up for takeoff (when they put the engines to full and start to charge down the runway in preparation for rotation) a senior member of the group stood up in his seat, turned to face the rest of the group, and started davening (praying while chanting and rocking back and forth), and the rest of his group started chanting back.

    Now, this freaked the shit out of the stewardesses, who couldn’t decide if they were supposed to stay in their seats (it was about five seconds after the plan had left the ground) or stand up in a rapidly-ascending plane to get this guy to sit down. In the end, they waited a few minutes until the plane had gotten to cruising altitude, and then went and gave him a talking-to; at which point he was starting to sit down anyways, and professed to speak no English.

    His compatriots accepted the talking-to and promised he would never do it again, and that was that – except for when the process started again, in reverse, for landing…

  34. TBT says:

    @ any Moderators: What happened to the “report this comment” button? People like oakie show why it was a good idea…

  35. humorbot says:

    @oakie: Oh man I am feeling so fucking ENTITLED right now! It’s exhilarating being a Jew these days, what with the internet and all. I just wish my entitlement somehow helped my understand what the hell perpective is.

  36. KogeLiz says:

    I find it odd that they spent time removing him AFTER he was finished praying and done explaining why he couldn’t stop.
    The problem seemed to be over… yet they still called a guard to remove him.

  37. Traveshamockery says:

    @KogeLiz: I think they called the guard before the praying ceased.

  38. starrion says:

    Corrected Headline:

    “Man Ejected From Flight Because He Wouldn’t Sit Down”

    Jew or Muslim, drunk or sober, Cute or overweight- when the attendant tells you to sit down and buckle up, do it.

    That is all.

  39. chrisjames says:

    If the flight attendants didn’t understand, or recognized it as prayer but only focused on him being uncooperative, then even if he had clearly finished and apologized they might need to assume that it could happen again in a situation that’s more dangerous for him or other passengers, like during landing. And really, should they just take his word that it won’t happen again, especially if they don’t know anything about his religious practices?

    If this is something that he has no control over (or thinks he has no control over, whatever may be your perspective) then what’s to stop him the next time except forcing him back into his seat, which is unacceptable, or forcing him off the plane?

  40. zibby says:

    As a matter of personal taste, I despise religious jabberings in public places, so I would have been pleased to see this guy get disappeared. Shut up and keep it to yourself – The Supreme Being is powerful enough to read your thoughts, vocalization isn’t necessary.

    Exception: If on a plane that is experiencing an uncontrolled, unplanned descent, knock yourself out.

  41. Geminijinx07 says:

    @humphrmi: Oh, I agree with that, but I wonder how much he was really inconviencing the flight if people were still boarding (ie, they weren’t waiting for HIM to sit down to take off) and how long he actually took. IMO flight attendants seem to kick people off flights these days more for the power than anything else.

    My guess is that he was saying the Amidah, needed to stand for 10 minutes and figured that since they were still boarding, it would be okay.

  42. Geminijinx07 says:

    @oakie: Nominate for reporting button Mods. Since when do these kinds of posts make it onto Consumerist?

  43. unklegwar says:

    @unklegwar: Bah! That’s what I get for rushing. What I was getting at was that he’ll claim they were infringing on his religious freedom, blah blah. Nothing against him as a jew.

    Oh well, I’m gonna catch crap, have a ball.

  44. sgodun says:

    Makes sense to me. Kudos to the airline.

  45. Bye says:

    I just wish they had been Pentacostal and Samuel L. were on the plane at the time.

    “And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up SERPENTS; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

    Mark 16:17-18

  46. MasterDave says:

    At some point, people are going to have to realize that freedom of Religion also means freedom FROM religion and that not everyone is interested in tolerating your dogma. Does the right of one overzealous religious person override that of everyone else around you? Not last I checked.

    With my rights, I personally choose to be free of religion. I don’t practice or observe any of it, and as a result I don’t expect anyone to force their beliefs on me. This guy was attempting to make some sort of a statement by doing what he did and I’m glad to see him removed.

    Maybe it’ll discourage the next person who claims his religion forces him to do something disruptive in a public place that affects a large amount of people. I doubt it, because most people don’t seem to be rational when it comes to matters of religion, but I have hopes that it’ll at least do something.

  47. Pink Puppet says:

    @oakie: Okay, I try to be polite, I try to get along with everyone, and oh how I try to not flip out at idiots. However, you’re a bigoted poor excuse for a human being.

    What Jews would WILLINGLY SOCIALIZE WITH YOU? You are such an irritating, angry little man with so many prejudices that not a one of my people would ever so much as want to breathe the same air as you.

  48. Geminijinx07 says:

    @unklegwar: stereotype much?

  49. Geminijinx07 says:

    @pinkpuppet: THANK.YOU.

  50. Dashrashi says:

    @unklegwar: You don’t think it says something about you that, “rushing” or not, that’s what you wrote?

    Frankly, your posts often tend toward the offensive. I’m rather not surprised.

  51. Traveshamockery says:

    @MasterDave: I don’t think hardly anyone here is defending his disruption of the flight – but feel free to take that straw-man enemey and use it as a rallying cry for your atheistic belief system.

  52. Veeber says:

    @Geminijinx07: But even given that situation, he should have noted the time and chose not to board first. If they were still boarding he could have said his prayers in the terminal and boarded last.

  53. Geminijinx07 says:

    @Chris Vee: Fair enough.
    Of course, we’re only getting one side of the story here but I still don’t think it was worthy of being booted off the flight (even if they did rebook him onto another flight).

    I’ve seen flight attendants go off at the slightest things more and more these days and I think SOME (not all) get a) a little paranoid and b) a little power hungry.

  54. cmdrsass says:

    Religion makes people act that assholes – news at 11

  55. Techno Viking says:


    He is not rude. As a Jewish person myself not orthodox anymore once you start praying you can’t stop. It’s simple as that. And for him it’s not a felony because of the religion status. Do us all a favor, go and read or observe Jewish men praying, get an insight into the religion than speak your mind. Otherwise, you are just a simple minded and not a very educated man. Read on the Judaism and it’s culture then we can talk. This entire country is so stupid when it comes to things like that. Why do you think he chose to pray while people were still boarding the plane and he was not bothering them in any way. To do his praying and then when it was time to lift off he would be in his seat. Americans are simply a pathetic little minded nation with it’s greatest minds slowly being replaced by idiocy.

  56. SkokieGuy says:

    If there is a God, I think the prayers will be heard regardless of prayee location.

    Somehow standing by a restroom seems perhaps a wee bit less holy than sitting in an assigned seat.


  57. Geminijinx07 says:

    @bohemian: If he wasn’t delaying the flight, what’s the problem really? It doesn’t say he was praying louding and preaching. Most likely, he was praying silently and went to the back of the plane while people were boarding to be out of the way.

    Not as though he was forcing anyone to join him.

  58. Bye says:

    @Techno Viking: You should pray more often. I hear God doesn’t care much about spelling & syntax.

    And I’m sorry, but if a person is not in control of his body and person while he is praying, then I do not want him in public until his praying is complete. I’d rather live in a town of smokers blowing smoke in my face than have to deal with religious folk whose defense for anti-social behavior is like a Pringles commercial.

  59. Rask says:

    @Techno Viking:

    Well the decent thing to do would’ve been to pay in the terminal before boarding the place. If it absolutely has to be at a specific time, he could’ve at least notified the airline staff and given them an approximation of the time the prayer would take? I’m sure that had they been aware of these factors and that the normal operation of the flight wouldn’t have been afected.

    (I apologise if this sounds uninformed however I’m not at all familiar with the rites of Judeism.)

  60. Geminijinx07 says:

    @TakingItSeriously: But if he wasn’t delaying the plane while he was praying, why would you feel like you (as a fellow passenger) might miss a connection? I think having the guard brought on by the flight attendants probably delayed the flight more than one guy would have.

  61. akalish says:

    @gtbernstein: Just an FYI: you and your rabbi would be wrong according to most Orthodox observance, and certainly hassidic observance. Certain prayers _do_ have to be said within certain time frames or they cannot be said at all.

    Of course, that doesn’t make this right. If the the man’s goal in his praying was to say a certain number of blessings each day (which is a fairly common goal among the orthodox), he could have gone out of his way to rustle up a less-frequently used one (eat a new food, etc.). That said, I sincerely doubt the man thought it would escalate to the degree it did. He probably thought, “It takes me 15 minutes to say my prayers, and the flight isn’t supposed to take off for at least 25, so I should be fine.” And once he started, he was basically screwed.

    The flight attendents were likely disturbed in part because seeing a person standing in the back of a plane praying is weird (and possibly suspect). Though it’s a normal (and almost constant) sight on any flight to Tel Aviv (on _any_ airline, including all the U.S.-based ones), given the prevalence of terrorism in our present mindsets, it’s probably a little unsettling if it’s not something you see all the time.

  62. akalish says:

    @SkokieGuy: Lol that was great. :D They stand by the back of the plane (i.e. near the galley) in an effort not to get in the way of travelers or flight attendents who are getting seated/walking around.

  63. akalish says:

    @akalish: Correcting my mis-statement: since each prayer service contains tens of blessings (sometimes more than a hundred), the man would have had to find an equivalent number of blessings (e.g. 50) to meet the blessing-goal if he needed to “replace” the prayer.

  64. rg says:

    It’s okay sir, you’re not being rude, you’re just breaking the law! When will these religious kooks realize their religion does not trump law!

  65. Hawk07 says:


    Would you take the same attitude if it were a Muslim?

  66. Geminijinx07 says:

    @rg: religious kook = anyone who is observant of religion in your book? I really think all these scared-to-death-of-religion posters should chill a bit. Honestly, it’s this kind of fear of the unknown that is the most frightening.

  67. Pro-Pain says:

    This idiot should be arrested. What he did was illegal. Keep your religious beliefs @ home and in your church. Not in public. Period.

  68. Traveshamockery says:

    @Geminijinx07: “I really think all these scared-to-death-of-religion posters should chill a bit.”

    True – I bet most of these people who make anti-religious comments would also describe themselves as “open minded”.

  69. mac-phisto says:

    i can’t say that i disagree with the airline here. i respect this person’s belief & their right to pray, but this is inappropriate given the situation.

    a person who is constricted by prayer rituals should be scheduling their travel around them, instead of looking to “squeeze them in” when they have a free moment. kind of defeats the whole purpose of the prayer ritual, doesn’t it?

  70. Buran says:

    @Techno Viking: Then he should have waited til the plane was in the air, or done it before he got on the plane. Once you’re on the plane, you have no excuse for not obeying the crew. Sit down, shut up, and pray some more later.

  71. Amy Alkon000 says:

    He was an orthodox Jew, which means there are regular prayers to say at specific times – he’s not just going to not pray.

    If you believe that there’s a Imaginary Friend in the sky who says you should pray at a certain time, and this prayer may conflict with Federal aviation law, you’d better take a plane at a time you don’t have to pray.

  72. Traveshamockery says:

    @Pro-Pain: “This idiot should be arrested. What he did was illegal. Keep your religious beliefs @ home and in your church. Not in public. Period.”

    There are so many things wrong with this statement that I’m not even going to go into it.

  73. EyeHeartPie says:


    Right. Start regulating where people can and can’t pray. Start restricting people’s religious rights. It’s not like freedom of religion is a Constitutional right or anything. [/sarcasm]

    The only reason I have anything against this Orthodox Jew is that by praying in a plane that was preparing to take off, he put his religion in front of the rights of the other people on the plane. He restricted the travel of others. That is selfish, and selfishness is not condoned by Judaism. If he had been praying in a public park or something, I would have nothing against him.

  74. jinjin1080 says:

    Ugh, seriously? If I was on the flight and his “need” to pray inconvenienced me I’d be pissed too.

    This man was just an idiot.

  75. Geminijinx07 says:

    @jinjin1080: It doesn’t actually SAY that the passengers were inconvenienced really. People were still boarding, ergo the plane wasn’t waiting on him to sit down. If it was only him standing, sure, there’s a problem. But are you going to be pissed off at all the other people still boarding because you’re already seated?

  76. Geminijinx07 says:

    @Amy Alkon: I’ll admit that I could have worded it better but I think the airline made this into more of an issue than it needed to be.

    And I’ll take my Imaginary Friend in the sky over a friendless life thx

  77. EyeHeartPie says:


    So very true. It always makes me laugh when so many self-proclaimed “open-minded” people are so close-minded when it comes to religion.

    @Amy Alkon:

    If you can’t respect other people’s beliefs, then say that you don’t understand or can’t respect them. There is no reason to resort to childish comments and insults.

  78. BigElectricCat says:


    Is there a time constraint on when the prayers must be performed? Maybe he could have prayed in the waiting area, before boarding even began.

    /goyische ;)

  79. P_Smith says:


    Define “close-minded” (sic).

    Those critical of religion never said the people had no right to have it. They said those who have it have no right to impose it on others.

    That is exactly what the original poster, _rg_, did and said. Unfortunately, there are too many dishonest people – a lot of them posting on this thread – who pretend that wanting freedom from religion makes one anti-religious.

    And as for the original issue itself, the individual had options within his religion to alter his prayers and not affect the airplane. He chose to deliberately do so, so this is not an issue of “respect for someone’s religion”. This as a power trip and an attempt to impose his will on others. He was rightfully and legally removed.

  80. EyeHeartPie says:


    I don’t disagree with you about this specific case. I just said that I have come across many people who claim to be open-minded, who then proceed to ridicule and insult people for believing in the “Imaginary Sky Fairy”, or “Imaginary Friend in the sky” (ala Amy Alkon above). Some of these “open-minded” people believe that everyone should be free of religion, whether they like it or not.

    I agree that religious people should not be allowed to impose on others, but is praying in a public park an imposition? In this specific case (prayer on an airplane), prayer was an imposition, and should not have been done. However, @Pro-Pain: would like to restrict all religious rights so that no prayer is allowed outside of the home or church. Pro-Pain = close-minded.

  81. Buran says:

    @KogeLiz: Because he had already ignored crew instructions and was already guilty of that offense. From the story it seemed they asked him multiple times to stop — all of which were ignored.

    Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away and he brought it on himself by ignoring their attempts to peacefully resolve the problem.

  82. Buran says:

    @xhx: I can’t find this post that everyone is replying to… I’m confused.

  83. Tonguetied says:

    I have a feeling the prayer was directly related to the flight itself so saying to schedule the flight around the prayer time doesn’t really work.

    Another story where you probably had to be there to really get a sense of whether he was delaying the plane or the stewardess was just on a power trip…

  84. Geminijinx07 says:

    @Buran: it’s been pulled. It was very anti-Semitic and wrong on so many levels.

  85. nick_r says:

    I, for one, would like to see the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster weigh in on this.

  86. Pink Puppet says:

    @Geminijinx07: Yeah, I shot a complaint to and Ben took care of it right away. Frankly, I’m very impressed with the Consumerist staff right now. They totally win at life.

  87. ChuckECheese says:

    @rg: What you call “law” is in actuality one of an avalanche of burdensome administrative pseudo-laws that say you have to do whatever a particular person (in this case, a flight attendant) tells you to do. It’s troubling to think that everybody is becoming a little despot, but we seem to be headed that way, especially at the airport. People need to exercise tolerance, respect and restraint, both towards FAs and towards passengers.

    The FA could have easily patiently waited 2 minutes for the man to finish, (which I suspected didn’t cause any actual delay to the flight) rather than immediately call the fuzz because somebody didn’t hop to it when s/he issued an order. We are becoming way too knee-jerk punitive and vindictive for our own good.

  88. humphrmi says:

    @BigElectricCat: Actually, Judaism makes a lot of suggestions but is very anti-dogmatic about rules. That’s what gets me about this, now a lot of people see Jews as being inflexible zealots who think the world owes them something, which simply is not true.

    There are specific times for praying, however in all the teachings I’ve heard, it’s always “when possible”. So missing one prayer time isn’t supposed to be wrong, just as long as you don’t do it on purpose.

    A big example is our upcoming holiday, Pesach (Passover). We have a restricted diet during this entire holiday (about a week). Most observant Jews won’t eat much more than meat, matza, and water. For adults, that’s not a huge deal for a week. For infants, that could cause health problems. Hence, the Passover dietary restrictions do not apply to infants or even mothers nursing infants.

    It’s not supposed to be dogma.

    Caveat: I’m a conservative Jew. Orthodox are much more conservative than even conservative Jews. But still, I have lots of family and friends who are Orthodox, so I’m not just making this stuff up.

  89. ep5760 says:

    Sorry i should’ve pointed out that i wasn’t taking a side on legality or not, only that the story takes a much harsher slant without that detail.

  90. louveciennes says:

    I know Passover is coming up, but if you’re so Orthodox that your praying is going to BREAK FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY LAWS, then maybe you should delay your trip, or take it sooner. It’s not as if Passover is a surprise holiday that gets sprung on you with no advance warning.

  91. zibby says:

    @ChuckECheese: Hey, maybe if the dude had communicated that he would have only been 2 minutes, he would have gotten that break. He didn’t, or if you prefer, “couldn’t”, so they really had no idea how long he intended to be trippin’. It sounds like even his friends didn’t know how long he’d be goin’ off.

    Anyhow, I doubt it’s anything against religion. If I went back there and decided to do a little performance art (costume, but no props) for an indeterminate period of time, I have no doubt they’d tell me to knock it off in short order.

  92. Geminijinx07 says:

    @pinkpuppet: you and me both with the complaints to Ben (I wonder who else?) and yeah, UBER impressed with all at HQ

  93. Geminijinx07 says:

    @louveciennes: Read the post properly. @humphrmi: was using Passover as an example of where the rules can be bent if infants/mothers can’t observe. NOTHING to do with this case.

    But in this situation, while he could have chosen to pray at a different time, once he had started, he had to complete the prayer. It probably took all of 5 minutes.

  94. ThomasD3 says:

    As long as people put religion above logic, we’ll have problems like that.

    He has the right to pray, but he can not impose his choices onto others.

    What next? stop on the middle of the highway to pray?

  95. deedrit says:


  96. BugMeNot2 says:

    I am an Orthodox Jew as well. This is not what our religion demands of us, and he most certainly could have waited for a better time. I think the airline d exactly what they should have.

  97. ChuckECheese says:

    @zibby: According to the article, the man’s friends told the flight attendants that the man would be done praying in about 2 minutes.

    When flight attendants urged the man, who was carrying a religious book, to take his seat, he ignored them, Brafman said. Two friends, who were seated, tried to tell the attendants that the man couldn’t stop until his prayers were over in about 2 minutes, he said.

    “He doesn’t respond to them, but his friends explain that once you start praying you can’t stop,” said Brafman, who was seated three rows away.

    I don’t think it’s about religion per se. I think its about intolerance in general, combined with an increasingly punitive police-state mentality. I’m speaking of the flight attendants, not a praying man. I can cut him some slack. But clearly the FAs called security quickly–probably after less than a minute or two, rather than listen to the man’s friends. It’s unsettling to think we live in a world where everybody’s first impulse will be to call the police and get someone arrested.

  98. Geminijinx07 says:

    @BugMeNot2: Question though – once the prayers have been started (say, the Amidah) you have to complete them, right?

    Doesn’t take long either, but my understanding is that you can’t stop mid-way.

  99. humphrmi says:

    @Geminijinx07: Right, it’s an example of how Jews are not bound to dogmatically follow rules when they don’t make sense, are impractical, or cause a hazard.

  100. AD8BC says:

    @MasterDave: I agree, and disagree with you. There is no freedom “from” religion. I am a Christian, I believe in freedom to choose any, or no, religion to practice. I’m not going to go out in public and announce that you are going to hell, it’s not up to me to do that (thank God). There are plenty of religious displays that I disagree with, and I can live with that, and I would expect someone who is offended by Christianity or Christian symbols to just live with it as well.

    That being said, as a Christian, I respect you, and Jews, and Muslims and others. As such, I would not practice my faith to disturb you, I won’t go out on a streetcorner and proclaim the name of Jesus, as I believe it is counter-productive to spread my faith my doing something that would knowingly offend someone. As a member of a faith, it is my duty to be respective of others…

    … and it was the duty of the Jewish man on this flight to be respectful to his plane mates. It is the duty of Muslims to not use their loudspeakers in a quiet neighborhood to call their members to prayer.

  101. AD8BC says:

    @Buran: Man dude, we need to stop agreeing on stuff. We were supposed to hate each other, now I feel like buying you a drink…. :-)

    TGIF my friend.

  102. MrMold says:

    Wahhhhhh. Flight attendants have power. Wahhhhhh. Tell you-all what. If you were at least polite to more people in the service industries you’d have better luck. FAs are not there to sit your lardy @sses down and fluff your pillows. They are there to get your pokey, stoopid bods out as fast as possible. Look at crash reports and note that the FAs do the majority of saving passengers.

    Oh, Mr Religious can’t listen. Bull. If you read the Koran, there are exceptions to the prayers and the times for saying them. I highly doubt that Orthodox differ much.

    Imagine if you will, store clerks having the authority to remove you. Think on this.

  103. Corydon says:

    Look, there are so many ways that this guy could have handled the situation better.

    He could have asked the flight attendant as he was boarding if it was alright to pray for a couple of minutes at the back of the plane while everyone else was being seated.

    He could have prayed in the terminal before getting on the plane and simply been one of the last to board.

    As many observant Jews have pointed out in this thread, he could have slightly delayed his prayers until the plane was in the air, or even prayed in his seat. I’m sure G-d wouldn’t have minded, as long as the proper intent was there.

    Instead he took it upon himself to disrupt the boarding process without notifying the flight attendants. They had no idea what was going on or how long he’d be there. Unless they themselves were orthodox Jews, they wouldn’t have been familiar with the process at all. Meanwhile, they are responsible for the safety of the passengers and for ensuring that the boarding process is quick and orderly.

    Perhaps it was a bit of an overreaction to call the airport cops right away and to throw the guy off the plane, especially after his friends spoke to them, but it’s not unreasonable for them to expect that their instructions will be carried out, considering that the safety of the passengers is their responsibility.

    A bit of idiocy on both sides, but on balance my sympathy lies with the flight attendants.

  104. OldTowneTavern says:

    He should have said he was praying that the airline would not file Chapter 11 in midflight, then the attendants would probably have joined him.

  105. JaneBadall says:

    Perhaps this is overly simplistic, but why couldn’t he have gone into the bathroom? It’s private. Also, stewardesses are usually a little more relaxed if someone needs an extra minute or two.

    Obviously not the most aesthetic choice. (It may even be forbidden by the rules of the Talmud. My knowledge of The Laws is limited). But isn’t it most important that your prayers be heartfelt and directed to God?

    Creating a situation in which your private moments with your deity cause public disruption makes a mockery of the whole thing.

    Also, to the untrained ear, Hebrew could sound Arabic. An unfamiliar religious ritual in a middle-Eastern language could cause dangerous panic on an airplane.

  106. Buran says:

    @AD8BC: Oh yeah. I’ll see that TGIF and raise you a “Can I go home now?”

  107. BigElectricCat says:


    Thanks very much for the clarification. I had figured that whatever the prayer/dietary rules were, that there were exemptions that applied to people in various circumstances like pregnant/infant/diabetic/soldier/etc.

  108. Mr. Cynical says:

    I wouldn’t want my flight delayed so some guy could pray…

  109. humphrmi says:

    So I asked my Rabbi about this. The rules about prayer times are based on so many inaccurate measurements they almost aren’t usable, for instance:

    1. The prayer times are based on the lunar calendar, which does not correlate in any way to the Julian calendar we (the diaspora) follow.

    2. The prayer times are based on lunar coordinates in Israel and then extrapolated to Julian calendar times in the rest of the world.

    3. For crying out loud, the rules about reciting the Amidah are obscure enough – “morning, afternoon, and evening” – and the definitions of those times are left to the Rabbi of the person reciting the prayer. It differs from synagogue to synagogue, even within a particular “movement” of Judaism.

    I think this guy felt his religious obligation was to make Amidah at that time, in that circumstance, but it was wrong. No Jew is required to interfere with the flight operations of a major airline. We don’t even believe in hell for crying out loud, the worst that happens is we have to say a few extra blessings during the flight.


    How many commenter’s would go and ask their Rabbi about a posting? :)

  110. Concerned_Citizen says:

    @Geminijinx07: And booting him for that reason is very justifiable. What if they were in flight and the seat belt light came on? Is he still going to ignore everything around him? It’s dangerous to have someone on a plane that will put their religion in front of their own safety and everyone else’s safety.

  111. zibby says:

    @ChuckECheese: Oh yeah, you’re right about the 2 minutes. Sorry. Still and all, it probably would have behooved him to tell the flight attendants what he would be up to in advance rather than rely on his friends to explain why he’d gone into an unresponsive, trance-like state – I mean since he “couldn’t” just speak for himself once the praying started. This guy was in a world of his own.

  112. Pink Puppet says:

    @humphrmi: Oy, indeed. I was tempted, but then I realized it’d come out “So this guy got kicked off of a flight, and he was praying, and people argued about it on the internet, so…”

  113. P_Smith says:

    @EyeHeartPie: I don’t disagree with you about this specific case. I just said that I have come across many people who claim to be open-minded, who then proceed to ridicule and insult people for believing in the “Imaginary Sky Fairy”, or “Imaginary Friend in the sky” (ala Amy Alkon above). Some of these “open-minded” people believe that everyone should be free of religion, whether they like it or not.

    You are mistaken if you think I agree with you. Religion belongs in your church, your home, or in your head. Non-believers no more want to hear you pray in public than we want to see you picking your nose. There are certain things that should only be done in private.

    And what you are asking for is reverence, not respect. The respect your or others’ religious views deserve is the right to have it, nothing more. Your religion deserves the same respect as your taste in music, clothes, or politics: they are all open to valid criticism when you display them in public.

    Those who call your “god” a sky pixie respect your right to have beliefs, despite what you are trying to claim.

    I agree that religious people should not be allowed to impose on others, but is praying in a public park an imposition?

    So by your argument, if two people on a plane near your children were, instead of praying, using profanity in conversation or discussing a pornographic movie they recently saw, that would not be an imposition on you or your children. Or are you demanding two different standards depending on whether you agree with the person in question?

    And since you got it wrong twice, it’s *closed minded*. Close (“z” sound) is a verb, and close (“s” sound) is an adjective meaning near. The adjective *closed* means shut.

  114. jabberwockgee says:

    @ Geminijinx07

    You are so pro-religion that it frightens me.

    Let’s take a look at what was happening here. Someone was on a plane, where 99.9% of people, even if never traveling via plane before, know that they should get on, stow their luggage and sit down (if only to get out of the way) until the plane takes off.

    Then someone randomly stands up and, after being told to return to their seat, they refuse/don’t respond (I don’t know which).

    I don’t care what they were doing, or what their friends said they were doing. This is a problem.

    I really don’t know what the fact that this was a religious act has to do with anything. And perhaps that’s what being a secular nation means. We don’t (with we being the flight attendants in this case) have to put up with random crap because it’s ‘religious.’

  115. Bog says:

    Your religion (or whatever) is not relevant. If you are disrupting the wellbeing or safety of this vehical, its crew, or its passengers then your off.

  116. humphrmi says:

    @pinkpuppet: My Rabbi has a pretty good sense of humor. :)