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Passover: TSA plans safe travels for matzo and religious items

Passover begins at sundown Monday (today) and the Transportation Security Administration is assuring fliers that its officers will be sensitive to carry-on items associated with the Jewish holiday.

"Some travelers will be carrying boxes of matzo, which are consumed as part of the Passover ritual," the agency said in an April 2 statement.

"Matzo can be machine or handmade and are typically very thin and fragile, and break easily. Passengers traveling with religious items, including handmade matzo, may request a hand inspection by the TSO [transportation security officer] of the items at the security checkpoint."

The statement went on to say security officers would be aware of observant Jews who may particpate in prayer rituals and wear head coverings and prayer shawls.

Israel has been preparing for Passover too, though not in the same way. The Western or Wailing Wall in Jerusalem received a spring cleaning, which involves removing the notes to God to make room for new messages of prayer, before the holiday.

The chief rabbi collects hundreds of thousands of notes that have been left in the cracks of the wall and buries them, according to the Jerusalem Post. Sticks are used to remove the notes embedded in cracks in the wall so as not to damage the ancient stones.

Passover continues until April 22.

mary.forgione@latimes.com

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