According to an elderly couple from Israel, they were kicked out of an American Airlines flight. The pair was left in Miami during a storm because they refused the American Airlines crew permission to leave their Tallit prayer Shawl under their seats.  

Roberto Birman, Elena Birman, and their flight companions were traveling from Miami to Newark (New Jersey) in August. In that time, they were subject to illegal, discriminatory conduct by an attendant. The lawsuit was filed on November 29.

Unnamed stewardess, was looking through the overhead compartments and came across Roberto’s Tallit bag. It contained a shawl that Orthodox Jewish men wore during prayer. 

He was instructed by the attendant to place it on his lap, and then to put it underneath his seat. The attendant and pilot then allegedly kicked the couple out of the aircraft after they refused to take it on their laps.

American Airlines said that they’re examining the specifics of the lawsuit.

Orthodox Jewish couple Roberto and Elena Birman of Brooklyn, New York say they were kicked off a flight in August for refusing to put their Tallit bag under their seat

Roberto Birman (Orthodox Jewish Couple) and Elena Birman (New York City, NY) claim that they were kicked from a flight because they refused to store their Tallit bag underneath their seat.

The clear 8.5-in-by-8.5-in bag, above, contained a prayer shawl and and book

Above, the clear bag measuring 8.5 inches by 8.5 inches contained both a prayer scarf and a book.

This suit was filed in New York’s Eastern District. It details the flight and the way the couple checked in for their bags.

“But, the old saying says, no good deed is unpunished.” According to the suit.

Birmans want unspecified damages, attorney’s fee and other expenses.

They sat across aisle seats and only had a briefcase, purse, and the Tallit bag (8.5-by8.5-inch) that contained a shawl. 

It was found in an overhead bin. The flight attendant inquired, “Whose it?” the Birmans told the New York Post.

He was asked by the attendant to place it on the ground.

‘It’s a religious item, it cannot go under the seat,’ Roberto, 76, said. 

To show his baseball cap, he removed it to expose the kippah that covered his head. He explained that it was against his faith to put the sacred Tallit bag onto the ground.

‘It doesn’t matter,’ the attendant allegedly responded. 

Roberto said to the Post that she heard Roberto screaming and pointed her finger at Roberto.

Roberto was then requested by the pilot and flight attendant to get off the plane.

The lawsuit states that the Birmans became confused, humiliated and disregarded, were lost and perplexed at one point, as well as being disrespected. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Birman and Mrs. Birman had been discriminated against due to their race, religion, and nationality.

They have been married 52 years. In 1985, they moved from Argentina to the USA.  

‘I couldn’t believe this was happening to me in America,” Roberto said. These items are used every day for prayer.

Elana (71) said that “Nobody said one word.” We were not defended by anyone. It was quite embarrassing.

The president of Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin told the Post that placing the Tallit in the ground was ‘considered disgraceful’

“It’s like taking a Bible, or a Koran and throwing it on the ground.”

Elena likened the request of the flight attendant to asking a Christian for a cross.

The couple was aboard an American Airlines flight from Miami to Newark, New Jersey. American Airlines says it's 'reviewing the details of the lawsuit'

American Airlines flew the couple from Miami to Newark (New Jersey) on a flight. American Airlines claims it is’reviewing details of this lawsuit.

They claim that American Airlines failed to help them locate a hotel for that night. And that their flight home didn’t take place until the following day on August 13. Despite the fact that Tropical Storm Fred was heading towards Florida, the couple claims that American Airlines wasn’t there to assist.  

CNN reported that the storm hit Florida Panhandle August 16, and caused power disruptions in excess of 10,000.

According to the lawsuit, the Birmans were ‘ejected from flight due to prejudices and total lack of sensitivity by airline employees and agents. These reasons are completely unrelated with security.

‘Your flight attendant and pilot’s conduct was as offensive as it was illogical.’

Roberto’s insulin medicine, claimed the couple, was missing from their luggage. 

Crew members allegedly shouted “Close the Gate” as crew disembarked.  

“What are you, criminals?” Elena wondered, and added that her husband was ‘devastated’.

Roberto claimed that it was out of context to the incident and said that Roberto found the flight attendant to be’very nervous’. It was very shaking.

American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said: ‘The safety and comfort of our customers are our highest priorities and we’re committed to providing a positive, welcoming experience for everyone who travels with us.’