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August 03, 2006 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-08-03

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



On The

Attack on Seattle
federation heightens
security at Jewish
institutions worldwide.

Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske
and Robert Jacobs,- Pacific _

Northwest director of the Anti-

Defamation League, speak before a

meeting of Seattle community and

spiritual leaders on July 30.

Sue Fishkoff

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Oakland, Calif

ewish communities
are being urged to
remain vigilant, be in
touch with police and other law
enforcement agencies and review
their security arrangements after
a fatal shooting at Seattle's Jewish
federation July 28.
But leaders of national Jewish
organizations report their insti-
tutions are operating as usual,
without panic.
"We've taken our cue from the
Seattle police, that this was an
isolated incident by one indi-
vidual,"Aaron Rosenthal, spokes-


floor security door and walked
upstairs to the federation recep-
tion desk, where he began shoot-
Pam Waechter, 58, the director
of the federation's community
campaign, died at the scene.
Many Jewish groups around
the country reached out to local
police; but in some places, police
acted first.
Rabbi Daniel Isaak of
Congregation Neveh Shalom in
Portland, Ore., arrived for servic-
es Friday night to see two police
cars in the parking lot.
They were "checking someone
out:' he reported.
The incident turned out to
be nothing, but Neveh Shalom
hired a private security firm for
Shabbat and much
of this week.
"The federation
building in Seattle
was pretty secure
Isaak noted. "How
do you prevent
someone who
comes with a gun
and holds it to the
head of a 13-year-
old? I'm not sure in
practical terms how
much we can do.
Ed Holmes, police chief of the
Maybe [the secu-
Seattle suburb of Mercer Island,
rity] is in large part
s ab-ait cooperation with Jewish
for our own mental
°roll nizations. In the background is
in ming Seattle federation presi-
Soon after the
dent Richard Fruchter.
Seattle attack,

man for the San Francisco JCC,
said of last Friday's attack, which
left one person dead and five
injured. "But it's certainly created
a heightened sense of awareness!"
"There's obviously increased
anxiety," said Deborah Dragon of
the Jewish Federation of Greater
Los Angeles, which held a staff
meeting Monday morning to
assuage workers' fears. "As Jewish
people, we're aware that we're
potential targets for hate crime
regardless of what's happening in
the Middle East!'
The Seattle attack occurred
Friday afternoon when a
Muslim man, angry at Israel,
allegedly took a teenage girl
hostage, forced his way through
the Seattle federation's first-

the Conference of Presidents
of Major American Jewish
Organizations put its Secure
Community Network into action
for the first time since it was cre-
ated 18 months ago, sending out
a bulletin to member organiza-
tions, urging them to implement
pre-arranged security measures.
Those groups forwarded the
alert to their constituents, includ-
ing Orthodox, Conservative,
Reform and Reconstructionist
houses of worship in North
Since last Friday, SCN's nation-
al director, Paul Goldenberg, has
been in contact with the heads
of all 155 Jewish federations,
Jewish camps and synagogue
movements; and has been get-
ting regular updates from the
FBI and law enforcement around
the country.
"I can assure you that this
is not an overreaction:' said
Goldenberg, who has 20 years of
experience in law enforcement.
"Almost every time there's an
escalation in the Middle East,
there are attacks against Jewish
communities in the United States
and Europe."
Malcolm Hoenlein, the
Conference of Presidents' execu-
tive vice chairman, said telecon-
ferences were held throughout
Monday with groups that wanted
to discuss security procedures.
The day before the Seattle
attack, SCN organized a telecon-

ference with heads of security
for every major Jewish federation
and senior representatives from
eight law enforcement agencies
to -discuss concerns in the wake
of the escalation of violence in
Israel and Lebanon.
They specifically discussed the
danger of a "lone wolf" attack,
which is what happened the fol-
lowing day in Seattle.
"People may say it's just one
person; and I am not saying that
Hezbollah or Al Qaida are com-
ing after Jewish institutions, but
there are people out there influ-
enced by what they see and hear,
who act on Goldenberg said.
"It's very difficult to track these
In 1999, one such "lone wolf'
a white supremacist shot and
wounded seven people at the
North Valley Jewish Community
Center near Los Angeles. In
2002, an Egyptian terrorist shot
and killed two workers at the
El Al counter at Los Angeles
International Airport.
Last month in Nashville, an
Iraqi national was convicted of
buying weapons "so he could
shoot and kill Jews," Goldenberg
pointed out.
He emphasized, however,
"there is no intelligence of any
imminent threat:' and the Jewish
community should "be vigilant"
without panicking. fl

August 3 • 2006


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