Category Archive: TSA

Airport x-rays, new technology

Update (Aug. 6, 2012) : See New York TimesX-Ray Scans at Airports Leave Lingering Worries


So-called backscatter X-ray scanners are in use at 36 airports in the United States, and questions persist about their safety.

The JCRC was invited by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) to join a group of religious leaders to critique the implementation of the airport passenger screening process. Leaders of many faiths expressed concerns regarding modesty and safety. Today, TSA officials reached out to us to update us on pertinent developments.

The TSA is in the process of introducing new Advanced Imaging Technology which will substantially address the questions of modesty. Any potential threat items that are detected are detected by an automated system and indicated on a generic outline of a person (rather than the passenger’s body). If no potential threat items are detected, an “OK” appears on the monitor with no outline.(See the illustrations below.)

Click here to can get more information on the new system. Deployment of the new technology is not yet scheduled for the major NYC area, but the TSA plans to eventually  install it everywhere.

The backscatter technology used in the system  was evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). All reported that it is safe and meets national health and safety standards. Click here to read more and download the evaluations.

They also informed us of new Risk-Based Security and Pre-Check pilot programs which will allow passengers to voluntarily provide more information about themselves, so that the TSA can better segment the population in terms of risk and provide expedited screening for “trusted travelers”. See more information here.

Posted in TSA, Uncategorized

TSA Guidance on Lulav, Etrog, et. al.


The TSA released the following guidance:

Religious Holiday of Sukkot

September 13, 2010
The travel period for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot is from September 19 through October 4, 2010.
Observant Jewish travelers may carry four plants – a palm branch, myrtle twigs, willow twigs, and a citron – in airports and through security checkpoints. These plants are religious articles and may be carried either separately or as a bundle. Jewish travelers may be observed in prayer, shaking the bundle of plants in six directions.
TSA’s screening procedures do not prohibit the carrying of such agricultural items through the airport or security checkpoints, or on airplanes. These plants are not on TSA’s Prohibited Items List. And, as always, TSA is committed to treating all passengers, including passengers who may be observing Sukkot, with respect and dignity during the screening process.
Posted in Sukkot, TSA