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September 06, 2002 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-09-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

This Week

Remembering 9-11

Balancing Act

At the High Holidays, local synagogues weigh
security concerns against need to be welcoming.

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or many, High Holiday
services provide a welcome
feeling of security, commu-
nity and connection with
God and other Jews. But, one year
after 9-11, and in light of continued
terrorism in Israel, fears and concerns
about synagogue security are cropping
up as the holidays approach.
To ease minds at this holiest time of
the Jewish year, area synagogues and
Jewish institutions are responding
with heightened security measures.
"Nothing has surfaced with the FBI
and police agencies, either locally or
nationally. There are no specific
threats," said Betsy Kellman, director
the Michigan office of the Anti-

Defamation League
The world as we know
it has been changed
Still, she urges
dramatically. I don't
Jewish institutions to
think it is ever going to
take appropriate secu-
change back. Life has
rity precautions. She
to go on."
said congregants want
In early August, at
to be reassured, not
the request of the
alarmed, by the
Michigan Board of
increased security in
Rabbis, the ADL held a
place, stressing that it
security seminar for
is a new feature of life
synagogues and Jewish
in America.
agencies and organiza-
"People see it wher-
tions. Representatives
B'nai Moshe President Larry
ever they go; it is part
of 31 different groups
Gunsberg, striving for a safe,
of American life," she
heimishe setting to worship.
said. "I went to a
Kellman says the
Tigers game and they
meeting allowed for
searched my purse. That never hap-
"lots of sharing and lots of questions
pened before. We see it at airports,
and answers." ADL distributed securi-
shopping malls; everywhere we go.
ty handbooks and whiteboards so

Nationwide Concern

All streams of Judaism deal with security issues.

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Washington, D.C.
n the aftermath of 9-11, syna-
gogues across the nation are
responding to fears and con-
cerns about security with
heightened security and plans to pre-
vent problems that could arise.
Whether it's requiring tickets for
High Holiday services or searching
worshippers' bags, synagogues will try
to balance security with the need to
provide an environment that is spiritu-
ally fulfilling.
The major movements are.offering
synagogues options and suggestions
rather than firm directives, recognizing
that each temple must develop a strat-
egy appropriate to its situation.
"Every synagogue, every communal
institution needs to have a plan," said
Rabbi Moshe Krupka, national direc-
tor of community and synagogue serv-
ices for the Orthodox Union. "It can-

not just blow with the wind."
Rabbi Krupka last month organized
a seminar for synagogue executives
and educators who wanted to discuss
security needs. The seminar was
intended to empower local synagogues
to look at their situations and make
their own decisions, he explained.
• The response was overwhelming, he
said, and the seminar was carried over
the Internet to accommodate the hun-
dreds of people who wanted to partici-
This year's High Holidays also come
after Al Qaida claimed responsibility
for an April 11 terror attack on the
Tunisian island of Djerba, in which a
fuel truck rammed a centuries-old syn-
agogue, killing 21 people.
The FBI warned in June that Al
Qaida might stage similar attacks on
American Jewish targets, prompting
widespread concern and heightened
security in Jewish communities across
the country:
In a recent meeting, U.S. Attorney •

General John Ashcroft told Orthodox
Union officials that local U.S. attorney
and FBI field offices will contact syna-
gogues and other Jewish institutions
before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
to coordinate security and safety issues.
In a special security alert sent to all
synagogues in the New York metropol-
itan area, the Jewish Community
Relations Council (JCRC) of New
York made a number of recommenda-
tions for the High Holiday planning
"In these uncertain times, people
appreciate security measures rather
than resent them," the alert said.
The alerts are issued annually, but in
light of Sept. 11, the New York JCRC
felt a special alert was needed to
heighten awareness and vigilance, said
Michael Miller,- the group's executive
vice president.
The JCRC advised synagogues to
develop emergency communication
plans and urged that no person be
admitted to a Jewish facility without

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