Thursday, January 21, 2010

When Flying Was Fun

I'm not that old (relatively speaking), but I can still remember when flying was fun. Didn't have to take your shoes off, didn't have to wait in long lines. When airlines gave you something to eat and drink without mugging you first; the headphones were free, luggage didn't incur a separate fee, and there was actually room for your legs in coach.

In case you haven't noticed, those days are gone. Tonight, our family piled into the Dodge Ram 250 to take son Shlomo to the airport. He, along with his yeshiva, are going to New York to commemorate Yud Shvat, the date one Rebbe passed and another ascended to his place. This, on the very day a plane was diverted because a 17 year old boy put on Tefillin* and scared his fellow passengers half to death.

In my fondest memories (read: the old days), everyone accompanied the flyer to the gate. Now, you need special permission from the airline and then, only one member of the family can go. So we sent Shlomo off with this class without us, much to his relief. He was embarrassed enough with us waving at him from the nearby walkway as he stood in line for a security check.

I'm not naive enough to think we turn back time to the simpler, anything goes days of flying. But is it too much to ask for a mother AND father to accompany their minor child to the departing gate? What have we become, as a society, when we have to ask permission from strangers to be with the ones we love? The bad guys win when we lose our moral bearings. Family should be with family. Stand in line for security? Okay. Take off our shoes? Whatever. Send our children away without one final hug at the gate? No way.

Tefillin: a set of small cubic leather boxes painted black, containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah, with leather straps dyed black on one side, and worn by observant Jewish men during weekday morning prayers.

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