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ManuCH
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Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Wed Jul 27, 2005 10:28 pm

Unfortunately I don't have the pictures to make a full trip report on my recent vacation in New York. I only want to express my disappointment with AA.

On the first leg (ZRH-JFK) we decided to fly LX, because on that particular leg they have a more "technologically advanced" inflight entertainment (A330 with 7 video channels etc), which is quite a good thing to have on a 8:45 hour flight where you don't sleep anyway. On the return flight (JFK-ZRH) we picked AA (they do code-sharing with LX). On that flight they use an old B767 with the "one screen for everyone" inflight entertainment, which I didn't plan to use anyway, as I wanted to try and get some sleep (bad idea), and that's the reason why I picked AA: more legroom in Economy than LX (which is true), so more chance to sleep.

The LX flight was marvelous. Very friendly F/A's, very good food (and that's IMHO really unusual in Economy on international flights), very nice plane. Everything was perfect - except one minor detail: our cabin sector was freezing cold, maybe around 16C. We asked for a higher temperature which never arrived. So maybe something was broken... I have no idea, so I just picked the blanket and used it.

Usual line for immigration at JFK ... nothing special. I met a demotivated immigration officer.
Me: "Hi"
Her: "Left index finger ... right index finger ... watch the camera"
Me: "Thank you, bye bye"
She: hands the passport back to me, not a word  Smile oh well

The vacation was great (as usual in New York - really a great city).

Now to the return flight. F/A's on the AA plane weren't really paying attention to passengers when boarding, they were chatting. Being a flight to Switzerland, there was a F/A trying to speak German, which was quite funny  Smile. OTOH my english must be funny as well...

Anyway, at the beginning the purser was very clear on the PA: "TSA has some new rules that need to be respected. People aren't allowed to congregate while standing in the aisles, no cabin crossing allowed, etc. And for those of you who need to pray, we remind you that praying is allowed only in your seats".

What shocked me is coming next. Please don't tell me I'm intolerant or something, but there's a limit to everything. During what was supposed to be "night", you know, the 3 hours when people try to sleep on an eastbound transatlantic flight, there was a congregation of about 20 jewish people who kept doing the following ritual: stand up, open the overhead bin, take the hand luggage down, open it, take the necessary praying kit out, close the bag, put it back in the overhead bin. Then, put a special praying cloth over their head, strap a leather stripe around their arm, and start praying while standing or walking in the aisles, being noisy and waking up all the other passengers who were (trying to) sleep. After that, open the overhead bin again, take the bag down, but the praying kit away, put the bag back in the overhead bin. I can assure you that 20 people doing this, one after the other, in the same noisy and disorderly way, was absolutely absurd, and sometimes even scary for someone who had never seen before how they do it.

My point is, this is an airplane. Passengers need to respect each other. The purser was very clear: praying is only allowed in the respective seats. This instruction wasn't being followed. And they weren't respecting those who were trying to sleep.

So, what's AA's fault in all this? IMHO that they didn't enforce the rules. As a Swiss, I always thought that american F/A's really do enforce what they tell passengers to do, and get quite angry if the passengers disobey. But this was tolerated. I couldn't sleep one minute because the 20 people praying were being so lound and kept walking back and forth the cabin. Had those people been arab, I bet that they would have been detained in no time by an air marshal.

Now, this is my way of seeing things, and I'm thinking if I want to send a written complaint to AA and TSA. Am I way off? Is it just me, or was there something wrong on that flight? Again, if it's just me, I'm sure someone in this forum will be able to tell me so, and I'll be quiet. I respect everyone's religion, but not if they don't respect others in turn. This is the worst thing I've ever experienced on a transatlantic flight. And by the way, other passengers were also quite shocked. But I didn't want to complain right there because I didn't know how to tell the not-so-friendly F/A's in a discreet way.

Thank you for reading
-Manuel
Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
 
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Wed Jul 27, 2005 11:04 pm

Oh, I almost forgot - now AA is only serving snack boxes for breakfast. I know for sure that LX still serves a real breakfast with croissants, jogurt etc. So that wasn't a "plus" either.

Don't get me wrong - I don't want to put off an anti-american rant here. I really am a US fan, I love your country, but this flight simply disappointed me.
Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
 
ChrisZRH
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Thu Jul 28, 2005 2:00 am

Hello ManuCH

I flew GVA-JFK-GVA last week on Swiss. I usually fly Swiss and experience with every flight they get better!!!
First flight for me with Swiss in April 2002 was hard. totally different to SR!
now on the last week's trip i first felt the passion was there again! service is great, they really want you to be happy on board, that's the key to be a winner  Smile
regards,
chris
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Thu Jul 28, 2005 5:14 am

Quoting ManuCH (Thread starter):
I'm thinking if I want to send a written complaint to AA and TSA. Am I way off?

Yes, you are... in my opinion I don't think you have justification to complain. If you felt disturbed, then you should have addressed those that caused the noise or the FAs. Since you didn't do that it makes no sense to complain afterwards.

Quoting ManuCH (Thread starter):
But I didn't want to complain right there

I think that was your problem then.

Quoting ManuCH (Thread starter):
sometimes even scary for someone who had never seen before how they do it.

Why would it be scary? Very strange thought...

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 1):
I don't want to put off an anti-american rant here. I really am a US fan, I love your country, but this flight simply disappointed me.

Disliking your AA flight is one thing but what does that comment have to do with anything?
Pan Am - The World's Most Experienced Airline.
 
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Thu Jul 28, 2005 5:35 am

Quoting PanAmerican (Reply 3):
Disliking your AA flight is one thing but what does that comment have to do with anything?

You're right, the last comment wasn't expressed correctly. I just wanted to make sure that my thread didn't sound like "Switzerland is great, while America isn't" - sometimes it's easy to understand things wrong in writing. The idea was not to upset anyone with this.

Quoting PanAmerican (Reply 3):
Why would it be scary? Very strange thought...

Maybe out of ignorance. For the same reason that sometimes police questions arab-looking people because they might be terrorists, for no reason. I said it might be scary for someone. Not that it actually *is* scary, because there's no reason, absolutely. It was just unpolite, that's it.

Anyway, thank you for your reply. I guess you're right, it doesn't make sense to complain at this point. Lesson learned for next time.

-Manuel
Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
 
irelayer
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:09 am

Unfortunately we live in an increasingly politically correct society on this side of the pond. Religion is an increasingly sensitive issue. One word to one of those people, be it Jewish, Muslim, Buddist, etc...could (1% chance) have resulted in the FA being disciplined or even fired for "insensitivity" or some BS like that, and probably exposes the airline to a plethora of lawsuits from not only that person, but various religious or spiritual groups.... Unfortunately that 1% chance prevents the FA from excercising their full authority in that arena.

-IR
 
FlyPIJets
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Thu Jul 28, 2005 7:16 am

Quoting PanAmerican (Reply 3):
Yes, you are... in my opinion I don't think you have justification to complain. If you felt disturbed, then you should have addressed those that caused the noise or the FAs. Since you didn't do that it makes no sense to complain afterwards.

I think a complaint to the TSA will likely fall on deaf ears, but I think a letter to AA is very appropriate.

Here is my thinking. AA says "blah, blah, blah... is the rule while on board this a/c"

Then passengers are violating the blah blah blah rule without AA staff taking corrective action.

That leaves everyone else thinking "hmmm, is this a rule or not" Besides, are you the rules enforcer while on board - certainly not. Do you want to create a scene on board - I hope not.

So, a letter after the fact complaining to AA about what happened is a good way to handle it. AA needs to know. They want to know.

So, if I were you, skip the TSA but send a letter to AA.

Now, in giving you that advice, that doesn't mean I agree that the passengers you were referring to were violating the intent of the rule AA announced. That is a seperate issue.
Rex Kramer: Get that finger out of your ear! You don't know where that finger's been!
 
AT
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Thu Jul 28, 2005 10:09 am

I thave had similar experiences both with Jewish and with Muslim passengers congregating and praying during flights... it has never bothered me personally, but I certainly can see it being an issue. From a practical point of view, blocking the aisles,creating a disturbance, etc...
And for someone unaccustomed to jewish or muslim traditions, there is possibility of it being frightening.

I don't know if American Airlines can be blamed- even if the flight attendants didn't respond- as Irelayer says, we do live in a world of political correctness...
yet i wonder if they were muslim men getting up to pray, if the reaction would have been so benign...
 
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Thu Jul 28, 2005 2:38 pm

Your replies helped me very much, thank you. As IRelayer said, politically correctness is a PITA these days, and prevents FAs from doing their jobs. When religions are involved, nobody dares doing anything, because it could spark lawsuits because of antisemitism/insensitivity and who knows what else. And for me, it was the same: who knows how the FA would have reacted had I complained: maybe they'd have ignored the issue telling me I'm insensitive; maybe they'd have put their job at risk by asking them to stop, but I doubt it.

Anyway, I didn't want to create a scene on board, I would never do that. What ZRH expressed is more or less what I felt. I would say, *exactly* what I felt. This still makes me angry. I tried to tell it in a politically correct way in this forum, maybe because I've also been somewhat "biased" by society in that direction - otherwise I would have told the unfriendly people what I think directly. But I didn't... oh well, maybe I should try politics  Smile

I still don't know what I would do next time in the same situation. Guess it's a lose-lose thing... you tell something, you're the insensitive. You remain quite, you don't sleep. But I have a hard time accepting it.
Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
 
SNATH
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Thu Jul 28, 2005 6:26 pm

Quoting IRelayer (Reply 5):
Unfortunately we live in an increasingly politically correct society on this side of the pond. Religion is an increasingly sensitive issue.

Yes. Even though it's their right to pray when they want, it's also Manuel's right to get some undisturbed sleep when he wants. Instead of finding a compromise, however, whoever justifies their behaviour based on their religious "rights" wins. And this is very very sad.  Sad

Manuel,

As a few other people mentioned already, I think you should have asked to see the purser on the flight and complain to them. But, if I was you, I would also write to AA and complain.

Thanks for the report!

Tony
Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
 
dens
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:46 am

Quoting ChrisZRH (Reply 2):
flew GVA-JFK-GVA last week on Swiss

Hi ChrisZRH, Can we expect a small trip report?
 
Transtar
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Sun Jul 31, 2005 7:08 am

Yes,

It is an unusual sight to see other religioius practices if you are not used to it.

My partner's family are Orthodox and it has taken many years for me to get used to the different traditions and ceremonies when I visit them. Now I am totally used to it and it doesn't phase me at all.

As with Muslims, Orthodox Jews are obligated to prey a certain number of times a day and must be in certain numbers at a time to prey. This is not a problem on the ground, but when one is one a long fllight, it creates inconveniences.

However, the airline really should have some better way of dealing with this issue, for both religious groups, so that their needs are addressed and the other passengers are needed as well.

In my mind, the religious travelers should really inform the flight purser and ask what would be the best area of the plane (i.e. galley area, lavatory, area etc.) to pray and coordinate with the flight staff's serving and work schedules during the flight so they can be in areas more removed from the other passengers.

However, the flight attendents should also be trained to deal with this situations in a nonconfrontational and constructive manner.

I would think that flight attendents experienced on transatlantic flights would have encountered this at some point. I know Swissair/AA for instance frequently sell good fares from JFK to Israel, a route where one always sees lots of Orthodox people. I would hope airlines would offer this kind of training for FAs on international flights.

TranStar
 
ChrisZRH
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:25 pm

hm... not sure about that :S
i already made a .pps , but more an "internal" one  Smile

chris
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Sun Jul 31, 2005 7:12 pm

I would really need to be forced to board an U.S carrier plane for a Intercontinental service. It seems to suck more and more. The gap with European and Asian carriers seems HUGE !!
Not to mention the "threats TSA speeches" from the F/As.

My uncle lives in the NYC area and is what we can call a premium pax, all he tries to avoid are the U.S carriers. Worse than ever even CO and NW which he praised not so long ago.

FB.
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airbus3801
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:21 am

Quoting ManuCH (Thread starter):
What shocked me is coming next. Please don't tell me I'm intolerant or something, but there's a limit to everything. During what was supposed to be "night", you know, the 3 hours when people try to sleep on an eastbound transatlantic flight, there was a congregation of about 20 jewish people who kept doing the following ritual: stand up, open the overhead bin, take the hand luggage down, open it, take the necessary praying kit out, close the bag, put it back in the overhead bin. Then, put a special praying cloth over their head, strap a leather stripe around their arm, and start praying while standing or walking in the aisles, being noisy and waking up all the other passengers who were (trying to) sleep. After that, open the overhead bin again, take the bag down, but the praying kit away, put the bag back in the overhead bin. I can assure you that 20 people doing this, one after the other, in the same noisy and disorderly way, was absolutely absurd, and sometimes even scary for someone who had never seen before how they do it.

How could that have been scary? Hasidic Jews praying? They can't to the proper praying in their seats, so if they want to follow their doctrine, they are going to have to get up. Sure they could have been a bit more quiet with overhead bins, but I wouldn't have let this make this a "bad experience" with AA. On an HP flight from JFK-PHX, their was a man a row infront of me on the aisle who just stood up and prayed for like 40 mins periodically, he didn't walk down the aisles (which I admit is a bit loud), but no one had any problem with it on the flight, and I am sure no one of scared of an old man praying.

Quoting AT (Reply 7):
I thave had similar experiences both with Jewish and with Muslim passengers congregating and praying during flights... it has never bothered me personally, but I certainly can see it being an issue. From a practical point of view, blocking the aisles,creating a disturbance, etc...
And for someone unaccustomed to jewish or muslim traditions, there is possibility of it being frightening.

People praying! Unless someone has never seen praying, they would be worried, but I doubt anyone is going to plunge into panic.
 
omoo
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:12 am

Quoting Airbus3801 (Reply 14):
How could that have been scary? Hasidic Jews praying? They can't to the proper praying in their seats, so if they want to follow their doctrine, they are going to have to get up. Sure they could have been a bit more quiet with overhead bins, but I wouldn't have let this make this a "bad experience" with AA. On an HP flight from JFK-PHX, their was a man a row infront of me on the aisle who just stood up and prayed for like 40 mins periodically, he didn't walk down the aisles (which I admit is a bit loud), but no one had any problem with it on the flight, and I am sure no one of scared of an old man praying.

anyone who thinks or knows that they will be praying during a flight should book their seats in the last ROWS !!!
Fly Air Popobawa
 
N200WN
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Mon Aug 01, 2005 3:34 pm

What happened on your flight would have annoyed me also. I guess I'm not very tolerant...they should have just stayed quietly in their seats and prayed, as they were asked to do. But it could have been worse I guess, as there could have been a group of Pentacostals jumping in the aisles, hands held high, speaking in tongues.
 
exFATboy
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:11 am

It sounds like it would have been annoying. Things like this -and children - are why I'm a big believer in the noise-reducing-headphone/eyeshade combo. Sometimes it's easier to just take action yourself to reduce the possible annoyance than try to enfore rules or expect courtesy.
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:16 am

First of all concerning LX service. Yes I agree the crews are the best but the seats on the A330 are hard and narrow. The food is so so and the portions small. That's why I avoid flying them.

As to passengers praying on LX flights to / from New York. LX carry a considerable number of passengers via GVA and ZHR connecting to / from Tel Aviv. They also have a code share arrangment with EL AL Israel Airlines.

The passengers who pray are mostly Hassidic which are a minority. I personally have never been bothered by public praying on planes. However my cousin told me that she also found it uncomfortable when a passenger sitting next to her on an AZ MXP to JFK flight was praying consistently. AZ have connecting service to TLV.

As to the poster being scared, Jews have been praying like this since over 3,000 years and Jesus who was a Rabbi also prayed in the exact same manner as these passengers.

I read that Saudi Arabian Airlines have a praying area on their planes which seems to be a great idea. Don't know if it's true though.

If one is scared / petrified, upset / angry about this and wants to avoid this situation arising one should consider taking a valium or flying to New York on the following airlines:

TAP Air Portugal, Aer Lingus, SAS, Royal Air Maroc, Finnair that do not fly to TLV or
Air France that have no connecting TLV to JFK flights at CDG.

[Edited 2005-08-01 17:20:19]



[Edited 2005-08-01 17:31:07]
 
Marco
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Tue Aug 02, 2005 9:09 am

Had those people been arab, I bet that they would have been detained in no time by an air marshal.

Had they been Muslims instead, I doubt that you would have even complained about it. You probably would have been smiling the whole time to show your tolerance. If a Jew does it...heaven forbid!
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Airlinerfreak
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:07 pm

Well being of the same relation as the 20 men on board I can not tell you what they were doing. I know many Orthodox jews many conservatives and many reformed, but no ritual calls for that. What they had on their head is a yarmulke I believe if that is indeed what you are talking about. But as said above your problem is you did not complain. It is not AA's fault it is yours. If you would have said something so to would the F/A. You can not hold AA accountable for this.

Also Manuel I have a question for you, you walk into a restaurant and sit down next to a couple with a loud and obnoxious baby. You sit there the whole meal trying to ignore it and say nothing of it. At the end of the meal you find your experience was a poor one, and you are still stuck with the $50 and having to listen to a crying baby all night. Whose fault is that yours, or the restaurants for not having the good night?
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:59 pm

What possibly may have scared the poster / s was the leather teffilin wrapped on the arm 7 times and around the forehead together with the big white shawl which is either worn on the head or on the shoulder. Maybe the box on the forehead and the arm was a bit intimidating? I have posted below a full explanation of how Jews pray, so that next time should they encounter this they will not be frightened or freak out and will understand what is going on. The following link also has a picture of a Jew praying in Yemen in 1914. Ignore the winks. I have no clue how they appeared.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tefillin


<
According to traditional Jewish law, the boxes must be square; their height should be about the length or the width; and they should be dyed black. The boxes are fastened on the under side with square pieces of thick leather by twelve stitches, and are provided with loops at the ends, through which are passed leather straps. They are blackened on the outside. The threads are prepared from the veins of kosher animals.

The strap that is passed through the head-tefillin ends at the back of the head in a knot representing the letter ד; the one that is passed through the hand-tefillin is formed into a noose near the box and fastened in a knot in the shape of the letter י. The box containing the head-tefillin has on the outside the letter ש, both to the right (with three strokes: ש  and to the left; and this, together with the letters formed by the knots of the two straps, make up the letters of the Hebrew word Shaddai ("Almighty"), one of the names of God.

The measurements of the boxes are not given; but it is recommended that they should not be smaller than the width of two fingers. They should not be too big, either, because that way they don't lie evenly on the head(either the beginning or the end will be off the head). The width of the straps should be equal to the length of a grain of oats. The strap that is passed through the head-tefillin should be long enough to encircle the head and to allow for the knot. The two ends, falling in front over either shoulder, should reach the navel, or somewhat above it. The strap that is passed through the hand-tefillin should be long enough to allow for the knot, to encircle the whole length of the arm, and then to be wound three times around the middle finger.

[edit]
Contents
Each box contains these Biblical passages: Exodus 13:1-10, 11-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21, written with black ink in Hebrew in Assyrian font on parchment specially prepared for the purpose, from the skin of a kosher animal.

[edit]
Arrangement of Passages
The hand-tefillin has only one compartment, which contains the four Biblical selections written upon a single strip of parchment in four parallel columns and in the order given in the Bible. The head-tefillin has four compartments, formed from one piece of leather, in each of which one selection written on a separate piece of parchment is deposited perpendicularly.

The pieces of parchment on which the Biblical selections are written are in either case tied round with narrow strips of parchment and fastened with the thoroughly washed hair of a kosher animal, preferably of a calf. There was considerable discussion among the commentators of the Talmud as to the order in which the Biblical selections should be inserted into the head-phylactery. The chief disputants in this case were Rabbi Solomon Yitzhaki (Rashi) and Rabbi Jacob ben Meïr Tam (Rabbenu Tam), although different possible arrangements have been suggested by other writers ("Shimmusha Rabba" and the Rabad).

The prevailing custom is to follow the opinion of Rashi. Some Sephardim and Hasidic Jews are accustomed, in order to be certain of performing their duty properly, to lay two pairs of tefillin; one pair is prepared in accordance with the view of Rashi, and the other pair in accordance with that of Rabbenu Tam. If, however, one is uncertain as to the exact position for two pairs of tefillin at the same time, one should first "lay" the tefillin prepared in accordance with Rashi's opinion, and then, removing these during the latter part of the service, without pronouncing a blessing lay those prepared in accordance with Rabbenu Tam's opinion.

[edit]
Mode of Writing
The parchment on which the Biblical passages are written need not be ruled, although the custom is to rule it. A pointed instrument that leaves no blot should be used in ruling; the use of a pencil is forbidden. The scribe should be very careful in writing the selections. Before beginning to write he should pronounce the words, "I am writing this for the sake of the holiness of tefillin"; and before he begins to write any of the names of God occurring in the texts, he should say, "I am writing this for the sake of the holiness of the Name." Throughout the writing his attention must not be diverted; "even if the King of Israel should then greet him, he is forbidden to reply". Unlike a sefer torah but similar to a mezuzah, tefillin passages must be written in order or how it appears in the torah. Should the words be written out of sequence, the parchment is invalid and not kosher.

[edit]
How to put them on

Yemeni Jew, 1914, with head tefillin clearly visibleIn putting on the tefillin, the hand-tefillin is laid first. Its place is on the inner side of the left arm, above the elbow,on the biceps, leveled to the heart, (fifth interspace of the ribcage and above). heart level heart basic anatomy

Similarly the head-tefillin is worn above the hairline); and it is held in position by the noose of the strap.

When the arm hangs the tefillin must rest near the heart. leveled to heart heart levels links

If one is left-handed, he lays the hand-tefillin on the same place on his right hand.

After the tefillin is thus fastened on the bare arm, the strap is wound seven times round the arm.seven turns

The head tefillin is placed so as to overhang the middle of the forehead, although it may not be lower than one's hairline, with the knot of the strap at the back of the head and overhanging the middle of the neck, while the two ends of the strap, with the blackened side outward, hang over the shoulders in front.

On laying the hand-tefillin, before the knot is fastened, the following benediction is pronounced: "Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to put on tefillin."

Hebrew: ברוך אתה ה׳ אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותו וצונו להניח תפלן

Transliteration: Baruch Atah Adonai, elohainu, melech haolam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'haniach t'fillin.

Then the arm tefillin is tightend, and wrapped around the arm seven times without interruption. On placement of the head tefillin, before tightening, the following is recited: "Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us regarding the commandment of tefillin."

Hebrew: ברוך אתה ה׳ אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותו וצונו על מצות תפלן

Transliteration: Baruch Atah Adonai, elohainu, melech haolam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al mitzvat t'fillin.

And then the head tefillin is tightened, as the following prayer is said: "Blessed is the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever."

Hebrew: ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד

Transliteration: Baruch Shem kevod malkhuto l'olam vaed.

[edit]
The Blessings
Before the head-tefillin is fastened, many repeat the blessing is repeated with the substitution of the phrase "concerning the commandment of tefillin" for "to lay tefillin." Some authorities are of the opinion that the blessing on laying the head-tefillin should be pronounced only when an interruption has occurred through conversation on the part of the one engaged in performing the commandment; otherwise the one blessing pronounced on laying the hand-tefillin is sufficient. This is the current Sephardi custom. The prevailing custom amongst Ashkenazim is to pronounce two blessings, and, after the second blessing, to say the words, "Blessed be the name of God's glorious kingdom for ever and ever," lest the second benediction be pronounced unnecessarily.

Amongst Ashkenazim, the strap of the hand-phylactery is then wound three times around the middle finger so as to form a ש and the passages Hosea ii. 21 and 22 are recited. The seven twistings of the strap on the arm are then counted while the seven words of Deuteronomy iv. 4 are recited. After the tefillin are laid Exodus xiii. 1-16 is recited. In removing the tefillin the three twistings on the middle finger are loosened first; then the head-phylactery is removed; and finally the hand-phylactery. It is customary to lay and to remove the tefillin while standing; also to kiss them when they are taken from and returned to the tefillin-bag.

Sephardim proceed similarly, but often without the extra scriptural passages, and the shape ד is shaped on the palm of the hand and the shape of a ש is formed around the middle finger, so as to represent the name Shaddai from the middle finger (ש  through the palm (ד  to the short extra strap of leather (י  hanging from the bayit (box) of the hand-phylactery.

Originally tefillin were worn all day, but not during the night. Now the prevailing custom is to wear them during the daily morning service only. They are not worn on Sabbaths and holy days; for these, being in themselves "signs," render the tefillin, which are to serve as signs themselves (Ex. xiii. 9, 16), unnecessary. In those places where tefillin are worn on the week-days of the festivals (see Holy Days), and on New Moons, they are removed before the "Musaf" prayer.<<

[Edited 2005-08-04 09:05:23]
 
BCal Dc10
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:37 am

Interesting post - I've also experienced this on AA but it was handled slightly differently.
Last year I was on the day flight from JFK to LHR and the last 8 or so rows were taken up by Hasidic Jewish people.

I have no problem with these people, or anyone else - I'm a live n let live kinda guy.
However they were pretty unruly and basically treated the back of the plane as if it were there own - they had little respect for the people around them, pushing them out the way, banging into people etc - most discourteous.

During the meal service, the crew had to stop twice, as they were praying on the floor in the aisles.
Repeated announcements were made by the crew, asking them to return to their seats until the trolley service had finished, but would they move? Would they fook. There was a major disturbance as crew argued with the head of the group, who basically refused to ask his people to get up.

So the captain comes down and tells the head guy "get your people back in their seats now, or we divert and I have you all offloaded, and you will get a bill for the privelidge" - which was greeted very warmly by other pax on the plane who were being inconvenienced by their behaviour.

They were pretty quiet after that.

As I said - live n let live, but do it within reason and with courtesy to those around you.... I don't think it is scary, but I think what pissed people off was that these people were so rude. Didn't give a monkeys that their actions were affecting the comfort of other passengers.

Am not sure what complaining will achieve though....
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 3:07 am

>>Last year I was on the day flight from JFK to LHR and the last 8 or so rows were taken up by Hasidic Jewish people. >>

It is important to understand that most Jews "are not Hassidic" and don't cause disturbances nor do they pray in public areas / aeroplanes. Hassidic Jews are a very small minority of the total population. Most live in Jerusalem and in New York and they travel mostly on the TLV to New York route. The reason they were on this AA daylight flight from JFK to London was that they connect to BA and El Al in London to TLV as AA have a code share arrangement with these airlines.
 
BCal Dc10
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 3:13 am

agree with your comment re "most Jews" - but these were Hassidic - I know the difference. (even if I can't spell it!)

re the dayflight - ah - that will be why there are so many of them on this particular flight - do any of them ever fly in J/F or will they not pay it?
I can't imagine them getting away with the same up front...
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 3:28 am

I am sure you know the difference but based on original posters it is clear they have no understanding of who these people are. Hasidic Jews as you know dress in black suits and some still dress like the noblemen did in the 17th century in Eastern Europe. Here is a link to this group.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasidic_Judaism

Many fly on El Al but because Swiss Airlines and American offer cheaper fares, they pick those too. Maybe these airlines should ask El Al how they manage. I have never had a problem on El Al. If they were sitting on the floor; so what?

I would be scared though to go into their neighborhoods on saturday / sabath. That can be dangerous. If you drive there they will attack your car with stones. They are very religious.
 
BCal Dc10
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 3:59 am

You say... if they were sitting on the floor, so what?

Safety for one thing - blocking the aisles.
The crew were trying to dish out lunch, but were hindered in doing their jobs because they were sitting in the aisles praying. And they wouldn't get up when asked to do so.
Lots of people, including the crew were getting very impatient and cross with them, because they wouldn't co-operate.

It took the captain, threatening them with diversion and being chucked off, to get them to behave.

Does El Al allow anyone to sit in the aisles and pray?

Also, re the comment about them chucking stones at your car - they moan when they're not respected, yet you get comments like that - how can you respect someone who is likely to chuck a stone at your car cos its saturday and you're driving past their house?

And what does that have to do with being religious? I'm a religious person, but I won't chuck a rock at you if you drive past my house.... unless you're in a Ferarri, and then I might, but thats a jealousy thing....  Big grin
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 4:42 am

>>Does El Al allow anyone to sit in the aisles and pray? >>

On El AL hardly anybody sits. It's a problem and the crew are consitently requesting that everybody sit during meal service. The Hassid represent an important percentage of passengers between TLV and New York and are therefore well treated with understanding.

I am not here to defend them. They are completely different and they consider the rest of us different. They are a bit like the Amish in the USA who live completely separate, dress in a specific way and live in their own community. They even speak Yiddish among themselves as they consider Hebrew a holy language only for praying.
 
BCal Dc10
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 5:06 am

I can't imagine what it might be like on a overnighter between NYC and TLV...

anyway, thanks for your insight - I checked your link - it was interesting to read about them - easy to judge without understanding.

They were still a pain in the ass on that JFK-LHR flight tho!  Big grin
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:48 am

The El Al crews know how to handle the situation. They are used to it while those on other carriers are not. They consistenly beg, plead passengers to sit during the meal service. Someone on E opinions described very well what it is like to fly from New York to Tel Aviv on El Al. It is very true. See below:

<
On a typical El Al flight into or out of Israel, you're likely to encounter religious Jews dressed in traditional garb; students from all over the world; spiritual seekers of all stripes; Christian evangelicals on a once in a lifetime trip, security officials trying to look unobtrusive, and of course, Israelis from all walks of life.

It'll be the rowdiest flight you've ever taken. Since Israeli passengers and flight attendants consider themselves "family," the interaction is rarely the polite customer/provider behavior you're used to on other airlines. You're likely to hear a flight attendant yelling at a group of Hasidim who've set up their in-flight synagogue right in front of the galley. It's quite possible you'll also witness a fracas over some aspect of the food service--it could be a secular Israeli who won't touch the kosher food, or an ultra-religious Jew whose special meal hasn't been loaded on board.

Inevitably there will be screaming babies and a fight for every available inch of storage space in the overhead bins. If you want to watch the movie, you'll probably have to tell the people standing in the aisle shmoozing to sit down.

By the time you arrive at your destination, you'll be exhausted, but you'll have a pretty accurate picture of life in Israel...
And for sure, you won't have endured a boring flight.<<
 
rjpieces
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 10:27 am

On my JFK-TLV flight on LY, there was an insane amount of shmoozing, way more than other trans-Atlantic flights I've been on. I had tons of random conversations with people from all walks of life.....I'm assuming most LY longhaul flights are like that?

[Edited 2005-08-05 03:27:24]
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 12:48 pm

Yes a lot of schmoooooozing on El Al long distance flights and also even short flights and always slightly chaotic and disorganised. But I think nothing beats flights to New York.
 
UAalltheway
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 12:55 pm

That's what you get for getting a US Airline to do a foreign airline's job! lol.
 
rjpieces
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Fri Aug 05, 2005 1:46 pm

That's what you get for getting a US Airline to do a foreign airline's job

?

Yes a lot of schmoooooozing on El Al long distance flights and also even short flights and always slightly chaotic and disorganised. But I think nothing beats flights to New York.

In my opinion anyway, there is a special feeling flying El Al on TLV-JFK...Do you know what I mean?
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:58 pm

<TLV-JFK...Do you know what I mean?<<

I agree. I feel the same as you do. However I just found this on webflyer which I found amusing:

>>My last flight on LY was not the greatest, with all the noise from evening and morning prayers going on, and the large number of small kids yelling (yes - I was in the back of the plane - it happens to the best of frequent flyers ).>>

[Edited 2005-08-06 06:22:35]
 
jacobin777
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Sat Aug 06, 2005 3:20 pm

Quoting IRelayer (Reply 5):
Unfortunately we live in an increasingly politically correct society on this side of the pond. Religion is an increasingly sensitive issue. One word to one of those people, be it Jewish, Muslim, Buddist, etc...could (1% chance) have resulted in the FA being disciplined or even fired for "insensitivity" or some BS like that, and probably exposes the airline to a plethora of lawsuits from not only that person, but various religious or spiritual groups.... Unfortunately that 1% chance prevents the FA from excercising their full authority in that arena.

i respectfully disagree......as a Muslim, I think if I was to take out a prayer rug and started praying on the plane, most people would FREAK out..maybe some would rush me!!

I've even seen rabbi's pray at the terminal, which is quite ok with me and most people.but if I was to take out a prayer rug and read my prayers in a corner..people would probably freak out again..

the only time I see people publically doing their Islamic prayers was when I flew from JFK-DXB on EK...since there were basically all Muslims at the terminal, nobody really minded other people reading their prayers..

Quoting AT (Reply 7):
I thave had similar experiences both with Jewish and with Muslim passengers congregating and praying during flights... it has never bothered me personally, but I certainly can see it being an issue. From a practical point of view, blocking the aisles,creating a disturbance, etc...
And for someone unaccustomed to jewish or muslim traditions, there is possibility of it being frightening.

wow..anything of interest regarding the muslim pax doing their prayers?

Quoting TranStar (Reply 11):
As with Muslims, Orthodox Jews are obligated to prey a certain number of times a day and must be in certain numbers at a time to prey. This is not a problem on the ground, but when one is one a long fllight, it creates inconveniences.

yah..but it won't on EK's A380's..maybe they will have a little "multi-religous" prayer room  biggrin 

Quoting Airbus3801 (Reply 14):
how could that have been scary? Hasidic Jews praying? They can't to the proper praying in their seats, so if they want to follow their doctrine, they are going to have to get up.

as a pax, i'm fine with it..as long as they don't cause too much of a disturbance..

Quoting Marco (Reply 19):
Had they been Muslims instead, I doubt that you would have even complained about it. You probably would have been smiling the whole time to show your tolerance. If a Jew does it...heaven forbid!

really? you sure?? how do you know what his thoughts are or what he's would say??? or are you on your typical muslim-bashing rubbish (and don't give me your typical "how am I bashing Islam?" comments-they are becoming a bit too predictable
"Up the Irons!"
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:51 am

>>i respectfully disagree......as a Muslim, I think if I was to take out a prayer rug and started praying on the plane, most people would FREAK out..maybe some would rush me!! I've even seen rabbi's pray at the terminal, which is quite ok with me and most people.but if I was to take out a prayer rug and read my prayers in a corner..people would probably freak out again..>>

First of all let's try to be fair. At JFK Terminal 4 in New York there is a Mosque, a Church and a Synagogue, all 3 right next to each other in that order. Both EL AL and Egyptair use this terminal (their flights leave at the same time) and I have seen Muslims and Jews praying right next to each other in their separate rooms.

I have also seen a Muslim taxi driver praying in New York on the side of the street / pavement with no problem.

You say that on a US airliner passengers would panic if they saw a Muslim praying. Maybe possibly a few would but if they did I don't think that it would necessarily be for racist reasons.
 
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ManuCH
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:59 am

Quoting Airlinerfreak (Reply 20):
Also Manuel I have a question for you, you walk into a restaurant and sit down next to a couple with a loud and obnoxious baby. You sit there the whole meal trying to ignore it and say nothing of it. At the end of the meal you find your experience was a poor one, and you are still stuck with the $50 and having to listen to a crying baby all night. Whose fault is that yours, or the restaurants for not having the good night?

That's a little bit different. If I complain to the couple because of their loud baby, I probably won't be sued. Furthermore, you can't normally stop a baby from crying... if it does, you keep it that way until it plans to stop on its own. Or you can leave the restaurant. You can't do that on a plane.

Religion is a sensitive issue and I plain and simple didn't have enough courage to say something in that situation, because I was afraid to hurt someone's sensitivity on that matter. I didn't know if what they were doing was legitimate or not. As someone said earlier, I didn't want to "put off a show" on the plane.

Thank you Semsem for explaining so extensively how Jews pray, I now have a better understanding of it. Probably I will look at it differently the next time it happens.

-Manuel
Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
 
copenhagenboy
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Sun Aug 07, 2005 8:16 am

"Had they been Muslims instead, I doubt that you would have even complained about it. You probably would have been smiling the whole time to show your tolerance. If a Jew does it...heaven forbid!"

I am sure the flight would be grounded, if a muslim made this praying, sitting on the aisles trying to reach Mekka. That guy have to be a terrorist. Funny story though, and something we can all learn about. BTW any religious fanatics should learn that on an intercontinental flight we have to respect eachothers religions. And not Show off.
 
AA767400
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Mon Aug 08, 2005 3:54 am

Quoting BCal DC10 (Reply 22):
So the captain comes down and tells the head guy "get your people back in their seats now, or we divert and I have you all offloaded, and you will get a bill for the privelidge" - which was greeted very warmly by other pax on the plane who were being inconvenienced by their behaviour.

The Captain himself came to talk to them in the back of the plane? Because after 9/11 cockpit crew members are not allowed to go past the first class.
"The low fares airline."
 
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ManuCH
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Mon Aug 08, 2005 4:59 am

Quoting AA767400 (Reply 39):
Because after 9/11 cockpit crew members are not allowed to go past the first class.

They are not *allowed*? Are you sure? I think the captain is allowed to do whatever he thinks is necessary for the safety of *his* flight. If pax are interfering with the F/A's activity and are unable to calm the pax down, IMHO it is legitimate for the captain to do something.

-Manuel
Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
 
AA767400
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Mon Aug 08, 2005 6:18 am

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 40):
They are not *allowed*? Are you sure? I think the captain is allowed to do whatever he thinks is necessary for the safety of *his* flight. If pax are interfering with the F/A's activity and are unable to calm the pax down, IMHO it is legitimate for the captain to do something.

Here in the U.S. we have tighter rules about things, hence that is why they can't go back. And that is not a legitimate reason to go back to help. They were not compromising the safety of those around them, they were just compromising people's hunger.

Also I feel that for you to blame a airline for this is really unfair. It is not the airline's fault, but the country we live in where you can't say anything anymore because you will get sued for it.
"The low fares airline."
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Mon Aug 08, 2005 9:53 pm

<
Thank you Manuel. At least it will be less strange.

[Edited 2005-08-08 14:54:07]
 
tsaord
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:20 pm

curious................

why did the f/a bring up tsa? we have NOTHING to do with cabin rules on board an aircraft! as far as i kno, nothing in our procedures states anything about cabin rules on board an aircraft. we are only to screen passengers and baggage for prohibited items. maybe the department of homeland security or faa has something to do with that, but our agency, tsa does not. at least to my knowledge and i havent seen anything like that anywhere.
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airxliban
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:32 pm

I have never experienced Hassidic Jews praying as you mentioned, but on my February 2005 flight from JFK to LGB there were maybe 20 of them that came on board...each with a large black carryon and a box for their hats. They reeked of BO and they got upset when the F/A told them they couldn't put both their hat box and carry on in the overhead bins...
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
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ManuCH
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:56 am

Quoting Tsaord (Reply 43):
why did the f/a bring up tsa? we have NOTHING to do with cabin rules on board an aircraft!

That's funny... the purser clearly stated that the no-cabin-crossing and no-congregating things are TSA rules. Either he didn't know what he was talking about, or he just did to make the rules appear more "serious". Anyone knows why?

-Manuel
Never trust a statistic you didn't fake yourself
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:11 am

<JFK to LGB there were maybe 20 of them that came on board...each with a large black carryon and a box for their hats. They reeked of BO>>

You say they had BO. They are actually very clean as they strictly follow Jewish religious laws. However they always wear heavy coats even in summer. All humans have BO after sitting in a plane for hours, no matter their national orign.
 
airxliban
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:20 am

Quoting Semsem (Reply 46):
You say they had BO. They are actually very clean as they strictly follow Jewish religious laws. However they always wear heavy coats even in summer. All humans have BO after sitting in a plane for hours, no matter their national orign.

This was as they were boarding...but point taken.
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
tsaord
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:47 am

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 45):
Either he didn't know what he was talking about, or he just did to make the rules appear more "serious". Anyone knows why?

i really think it was to make some people comply with the rules. tsa has nothing to do with on board/in flight rules and regulations. thats all faa and airline stuff
there are icons, then there are legends, then there is rick flair
 
semsem
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RE: Bad AA Experience On JFK-ZRH

Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:18 pm

>>box for their hats>>

The women also wear hats as they must keep their hair covered. What a pain it must be to travel with a hat box.

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