Muslim flight attendant says she was suspended for refusing to serve alcohol

It’s not their core responsibility, I’d argue.

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I find it hard to muster up any sympathy here. When you convert to a religion after already doing your job, knowing full well what your job entails, it seems like you should then think about getting a new job. But then, she converted and only found out a year later that it was against her religion. So, like, isn’t she already going to hell (or whatever the Muslim equivalent is) any way? Or does Islam have some equivalent to the Catholic notion of confession/forgiveness?


That’ll work just fine!

So do the Jewish flight attendants only serve Kosher meals?

“Hope y’all like Gefilte fish!”


I’d argue that a job can have multiple core responsibilities and that bolstering the oft-discussed razor-thin profit margins would be considered one of them.

Not sure… every food item a flight attendant has ever served me tasted like stale matzo bread.


If it’s the law, it should apply. I’m not siding with Hobby Lobby.


Follow-up question: is it against the Jewish faith to serve non-Kosher meals, or just to eat them?


This clearly can not be a modern interpretation. A prohibition on alcohol and damning of everything who benefits on it is quite rough considering it is used as everything from a simple solvent to mouthwash. Never mind that it is produced every time you let a loaf of bread rise.


I dunno. Probably depends how orthodox they are. Does a Jewish butcher or deli serve ham? (I honestly don’t know. The Jews I know are non-observant).

Not all Muslims are super observant on the alcohol rule either.

Furthermore what is complicated is the fact that virtually anything can be considered a religion on the US. Can I get hired on, claim to convert to the Church of Lebowski, and then claim I can’t actually do any work, as the Dude suggests we just all chill?


Fair enough! I wonder how a court would wiggle out from under that…

This is the problem with religious exceptions, it becomes VERY hard to sort out what kind of reasonable exceptions a business would need to make for someone…

For example, let’s say she worked in a bar. Assume all of the details of the case are the same, but she’s now trying to keep her career at a craft cocktail bar. How many (equivalent) jobs are there to do at a cocktail bar that don’t require serving alcohol? (Few.)

The context of the job matters. If someone cannot for religious reasons fulfill large proportions of their duties I feel like it’s time to find a new career. If you think about the details, what if she couldn’t serve pork or meat in general? What would she be able to do? How many crew does an average Express Jet flight have for a given class of service?

Just like a certain elected official, I feel like if you cannot perform all of your duties then you should find other work. In this case, she could be a gate attendant or work for the company in the office… train others… etc. Since we don’t know all of the details, it’s hard to say how she attempted to deal with this situation, but it sounds like the airline tried to make a temporary accommodation to see if she could, with the help of colleagues, continue to perform her duties and it didn’t work out.


So I’m a reformed Jew and I’ve been taking a lot of classes related to observance. Because I’m in New York where we do have also a large Orthodox community, we also talk about how what we do differs from those who observe the commandments very strictly.

Reformed Jews can eat anything they want. Generally at my temple we eat “kosher style” while on the grounds but the kitchen isn’t actually a kosher kitchen with separate plates for milk and meat.

Conservative Jews vary but typically will do some form of kosher food in the home but I’ve known a lot who eat not kosher outside of their homes - we used to get a big kick out of seeing my grandfather eating bacon when he was out at restaurants, which would never be served in their home. My uncle’s family, who are also Conservative, keep separate plates for milk and meat in their kitchen, but my grandparents never did and would serve us things like cheeseburgers.

Orthodox Jews eat kosher at all times and generally are strict on observing the letter of the law. I know some Orthodox Jews even have what amounts to two separate kitchens - double the appliances - so the milk dishes are not even washed with the meat dishes.

To the extent that they follow these practices seems pretty dependent on how secular they are. A lot of orthodox people live in communities, so it comes down to how into it their own community is. For example, I have a friend whose sister is Orthodox and she will not even accept a ride in a car on the Sabbath, but I have read that other Orthodox are fine riding in a car as long as they are not driving.

I doubt there would not be a whole lot of Orthodox women working outside their homes in positions like flight attendant anyway; generally woman stay at home. (Although I have heard that in Israel it is reversed that that often the women support the family so the men can study Torah.)

Serving non-Kosher food - I suppose there are some Orthodox Jews who would do that but not many. They have a lot of workarounds that go the other way, like where they have a non-Jewish person who will operate the light switches on the Sabbath, which is forbidden to them. From what I understand from my friends who have Orthodox family members or were raised Orthodox or been a part of these communities, most Orthodox Jews are very very into observing laws strictly and in a sort of checklist like way - like, a lady I know who worked at an Orthodox daycare said that typically the kids will try to do 100 “mitzvahs” (observances) each day and will check them off as they go about saying prayers or doing their deeds - sort of like the way birdwatchers have lists of birds to find.

Of course these are all generalizations, but it’s hard to imagine a person who dresses observantly, or who lives in a community where people are so strict about their food handling, would serve pork or shellfish.


I just gotta tell my one little anecdotal story. Several years ago I visited Morocco and I was staying with a local family in the city of Rabat. They were devout Muslims: did their five daily prayers, went to Mosque on Friday, etc. On my first day in his home, the head of the household asked me if I preferred red or white wine. I said, I liked both. He went to the store, bought for me a bottle each of red and white wine. He said, “Sorry my friend, my religion forbids me from sharing these with you. But you may enjoy!” I always thought that was such a nice gesture! And it struck me as more gracious, hospitable, and nonjudgmental than some of the Christians I knew back home at the time.


Well duh, it’s only freedom from the scourge of Islam! Its freedom for unfettered Christianity and Dominionism, just ask Ron Paul and the other freedom-loving Libertarians.


Of course, men can be flight attendants too :stuck_out_tongue:

To answer my own question above, I did some Googling and the Chicago Rabbinical Council seems to be of the opinion that Jews can’t do business involving non-kosher foods because [s]he may inadvertently come to eat it.


Well, here’s a nuanced take on the situation.

Yeah, that sounds right.

I mean, the whole not mixing milk and meat thing comes from the commandment to not boil a lamb in its own mother’s milk. Which does seem cruel. Apparently the rabbis thought that you might inadvertently use a slice of cheese from the milk of the cow that you are using for your hamburger, so, therefore - no cheeseburgers, ever - and you have to keep separate sets of plates in case one drop of milk from the momma cow ever lands on the plate you used for meat.

Why? It’s already dead. It doesn’t care anymore. And even if you were boiling it alive (cruel), I don’t think it would care if you were boiling it alive in its own mother’s milk or anything else. It would be a bit pre-occupied.


At least there is some sense to it, whereas the whole separate plates thing is getting pretty ludicrous. IMHO.


I guess. The whole thing seems weird to me, from the outside.

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