Call me a Jewish guy with a shtetl mentality, but all these stories making the news cycle about a man who didn’t fly on the missing Malaysian Airlines flight – MH370 – because it was Shabbat is folkloric, parochial, and crass. Will it feed those who will blame Jews and Israel’s Mossad for the jet’s problems – just as they do for 9-11? Yes. Do I think it is crass to celebrate good fortune while hundreds are mourning? Definitely. Do I think it smacks of some sort of racial, religious, magical superiority? Of course.
The Background: According to news reports, a Jewish agent of a travel site refused to sell a Jewish passenger a ticket for the flight, since it was flying on the Jewish Sabbath. This is according to Daniel Eleff, a friend of the travel agent and CEO of the Cleveland-based travel site Dansdeals.com. PLUG PLUG PLUG…. DANSDEALS.COM… According to the website’s blog, the agent said, “I wish I can give you a day later, but you know I just don’t like flying Jews on Shabbat..,” Later the customer replied, “I reconsidered, you are right and I should be more observant… ”
In my opinion, if it is true, keep it to yourself or remove the “plug” from the story. If you need this story to reinforce your decision to observe certain Sabbath rules, then I have a hamsa and a Chagall print I can sell you.
And what about Mr. Nikolai Brodskii of Irkutsk, Russia, a 43-year-old Russian-Jewish family man who was on the 239 passengers and crew members on the flight? Are we supposed to blame his level of Jewish observance? No, of course not.
I welcome your comments and criticisms