The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) honored Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel of America’s Washington director, for improving airport screening for haredi Jews.
The TSA, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, said Cohen provided advice to personnel about Jewish beliefs and practices in order to “avoid mishaps and misunderstanding involving Jewish travelers.”
TSA hopes to avoid explicit x-ray imaging and unnecessary pat-downs of passengers, in addition to providing private rooms for searches and announcing special notices during Jewish holiday travel.
“Years ago, we would regularly receive calls from members of the community who were distraught over unfortunate incidents,” Cohen said. “The result of greater education has been greater sensitivity on both sides and a dramatic drop in airport mishaps—ultimately resulting in an appreciative TSA and observant Jewish community.”
An educational webinar on Judaism created by Cohen will be shown to TSA security personnel nationwide several times a year.