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September 06, 2002 - Image 23

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

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

contact numbers can be easily accessi-
ble should they be needed.
"Our goal is to balance between the
need for people to feel they are in a
safe environment, and our traditional
approach of providing a warm,
friendly and heimishe [comfortable]
place to meet and worship," said
Larry Gunsberg, president of
Congregation B'nai Moshe.
Gunsberg attended. the ADL meet-
ing and appointed volunteers to
develop and oversee an emergency
response plan for the synagogue. The
plan was shared at a meeting for ush-
ers that focused on security and hos-
pitality.
• Additionally, for the first time,
B'nai Moshe has distributed parking
passes so they can identify members
as they enter the property. Those
without passes will be asked to show
identification before parking. Those
who have left their tickets behind also
will be asked for identification.
Howard Brickner of Walled Lake, a.
B'nai Moshe congregant co-chairing
the effort, hopes people will under-
stand if they err on the side of cau-
tion.

,

first passing through security.
High Holiday tickets also can. be an
important component of a security
plan, the alert suggested. Tickets give
the synagogue some amount of con-
trol over who is admitted, but the
alert points out potential problems
with giving blocks of tickets to third
parties for distribution or the possibil-
ity of counterfeited tickets.
The United Jewish Communities,
the central fund-raising address for
North American Jewry, is considering
sending out a version of the alert to all
communities in coming weeks.
Rabbi Jerome Epstein, executive
vice president of the United
Synagogue of Conservative Judaism,
said his organization is preparing a
special mailing for the High Holidays.
The challenge, Rabbi Epstein said,
was finding a way for synagogues to
increase security while still giving the
feeling of being open.
"You don't want to appear as a cold,
uncaring institution," he said.
The Conservative movement has
been talking with Jewish groups and
consulting on different strategies,
Rabbi Epstein said.
Many Reform congregations have
been struggling with security issues,
while others say they do not plan to

"It is better to be safe than sorry,"
he said. "If we go overboard, so be
it. We have a plan in place and are
communicating with local law and
fire officials. B'nai Moshe is a safe
place to worship."
Rabbi Paul Yedwab of Temple
Israel, who chairs the Michigan
Board of Rabbis, believes the-securi-
ty situation will not inhibit syna-
gogue attendance.
"Last year, concerns were high as
the holidays came soon after 9-11,
but at Temple Israel, we experienced
record numbers," he said. "I think
people are really feeling the need to
be together as a Jewish people."
Rabbi Yedwab urges congregants
to be understanding of the precau-
tions and cooperate fully with ushers
and security personnel.
"My plea to synagogue members
in the city is to assume that any-
thing they are asked to do is for a
good reason," the rabbi said. "Anger
is not appropriate. Show the ticket;
agree to show identification; be as
pleasant, helpful and cooperative as
possible." O

change their established High Holiday
procedures, said Dale Glasser, director
of synagogue management for the
Union of American Hebrew
Congregations, the Reform move-
ment's congregational arm.
The movement will be in contact
with national authorities, but individ-
ual synagogues should consult with
local authorities, Glasser said.
Partnering with local law enforce-
ment is very important, and there is
ongoing communication between syn-
agogues and police in many commu-
nities, said Barry Swartz, vice presi-
dent of United Jewish Communities'
consulting division.
The heightened attention to,security
cannot be just a one-time thing for Jew-
ish institutions, Swartz and others noted.
For example, the UJC is working
with Jewish groups and the John Jay
School of Criminal Justice in New
York to develop an emergency security
guide for year-round use. The UJC
hopes to have a draft of the plan ready
this fall, which it eventually will make
available to every synagogue and insti-
tution.
"This is not merely a High Holiday
situation," the O.U.'s Rabbi Krupka
said. "It requires systemic attention
and systemic change." 0

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Jig

9/ 6

2002

23

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