Border Agent Lays Tefillin as Birthday Gift to Lubavitcher Woman

A Lubavitcher couple was passing through border control at JFK airport after returning from a trip to Alma Ata, Kazakhstan when they noticed that the name on the border agent’s badge was Jewish.

A Lubavitcher landing at JFK airport in New York City after returning from a trip to Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, made a tremendous Kiddush Hashem as he made his way through airport security.

Zalman Fellig says he was returning to the U.S. after spending Chof Av at Reb Levik’s tziyun in Alma Ata. As he landed in New York, his wife noticed that the name on the border agent’s badge was Jewish. She suggested that her husband lay Tefillin on him.

“Initially, after a long trip, I thought, ‘Let’s just get the luggage,’ but then I remembered the story of my good friend Mushi Fogelman. He stepped out of his comfort zone and convinced a pilot to put on Tefillin in front of the whole flight,” Rabbi Fellig says. “So, I asked the agent if he would be willing, but he said it would be impossible since he was the only one there.”

“My wife drew inspiration from Mushi Fogelman’s narrative and said, ‘It’s my birthday, and I am going to the Rebbe’s Ohel. I need something good to bring The Rebbe.’ The most amazing thing happened – he said, ‘OK, let’s do it.”‘

The agent then stopped the line and asked everyone to wait a few minutes as he donned Tefillin with the help of the shluchim who were determined to help him connect with Yiddishkeit – even if only for a moment.

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