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“In Judaism, when you are 13, you become an adult,” he said.

That said, even Mr. Burger admitted that he takes notice when it’s Friday the 13th.

“I do know it, and I’ll go, ‘Oooh,’ but I don’t do anything differently,” he said. “Millions of people will fly on the 13th, and they’ll be fine; the 13th floor of a building is just fine.”

But modern-day architects and designers avoid labeling 13th floors, Mr. Burger said, because “psychologically, people are uncomfortable with that.”

In fact, the Gallup Organization and USA Today conducted a poll in 2007 in which pollsters asked Americans whether they would feel uncomfortable if they were assigned a hotel room on the 13th floor.

The percentage of respondents who said they’d be bothered: Thirteen.