Editorials are posted and archived on JNonline.us .
BalAnce Security, Openness
e as a Jewish commu-
nity must wake up to terror's
recurring echoes around the
world. The threat is real, even in America.
We need to better educate ourselves and
be better prepared to strengthen the walls
of safety and security at our synagogues,
JCCs, Federation buildings and other
communal meeting places. Wherever we
gather, we're vulnerable.
The key is to balance vigilance, ever
important, with an open, inviting atmo-
sphere. We need to be aware, but we can't
live in fear.
Still, we can't be complacent.
Three years ago, the leadership of the
organized Jewish community formed the
Secure Community Network. It not only
advises law enforcement agencies, but also
instructs Jewish institutions about how to
Paul Goldenberg, the SCN national
director, told JTA: "Being serious about
security is not just about employing
more security officers or buying more
technological equipment. It is about an
operational and financial commitment
for instituting a mindset and culture of
security that encompasses a broad array
of adequate preventive measures, plan-
ning, voluntarism, training and exercises,
and recognizing that self-reliance is more
important than ever before."
Jewish institution leaders, whether pro-
fessionals or volunteers, require the tools
and support to develop and coordinate
plans and activities to counter terror's
Says Goldenberg: "Security prepared-
ness and awareness is clinically prudent,
devoid of emotion and fen"
In the wake of the Feb. 13 firebombing
death of Hezbollah's notorious security
chief, Imad Mughniyeh, the terrorist
group threatened Israel and the diaspora
even though the Jewish state denied any
complicity. Only a fool would consider
Hezbollah's threat to be idle.
Terrorists mean business. Remember
the 1994 fatal firebombing of a JCC in
Buenos Aires? As recently as Feb. 19, a
week after Mughniyeh's death, a molotov
cocktail hit a building on the Bernard
Milken Jewish Community Campus in Los
Angeles; thankfully, no one was hurt.
Jewish institutions everywhere are all
too familiar with the consequences of
hostile behavior fueled by hate and unrest
fomented in the Middle East.
It was only two years ago, after Al
Qaida's second-in-command, Ayman al-
Zawahiri, threatened that his organization
"will attack anywhere" to avenge Israel's
war against terrorists in Lebanon, that an
attack by a lone sympathizer left one dead
and five injured at the Jewish Federation
of Greater Seattle.
Don't dismiss the fact that violence
bubbles up from lone wolves as well as
It knows no bounds.
SCN is in daily touch with the FBI, U.S.
Department of Homeland Security and
other law enforcement agencies. Go to the
SCN Web site (www.scnus.org) to find out
more about what the Jewish community
and its institutions can do to diminish
security vulnerabilities and instill a cul-
ture of alertness and preparedness. ❑
Forever Chelm by Michael Gilbert
ZALMAKJ, (Al ANT
TO SIGN OUR
BUT THE ONLY
RI 04 MAN IN
HET HAVE TO
WANT TO WEAR
ONE OF OUR
truit Of The Vine
wring the December holidays,
Sherry, her brother and I drove
to Rochester for the downtown
lighting display and dinner at one of the
The place was packed and festive, and
at the table next to us was a group of four
men. They were loaded and festive.
As the evening wore on and the drinks
kept coming, they got louder and more
obscene. One of them was wearing a coat
and tie and I surmised that he was some
kind of supervisor who was treating his
subordinates, or possibly some customers,
to an evening out. He looked a bit discom-
fited by the tone of the conversation but
Women get shrill when they've had too
much to drink and men break out the
four-letter vocabulary. Neither experience
is pleasant if you're seated nearby.
I was between my wife and that table
and Barry was seated across from her. The
restaurant was noisy and they only heard
fragments of the drunken bluster. But it
certainly detracted from the
ambience — which is what most
restaurants are selling.
I am not a confrontational
person. This table was racking
up a bill of several hundred
dollars in food and drink, and I
didn't think the restaurant man-
ager would be eager to intrude
on the merriment. They finally
staggered to the parking lot,
another unpleasant thought, and
we finished our meals.
I hadn't thought much about that
evening until I saw a recent news article
about how Michigan wineries are chang-
ing their tasting policies because of the
number of people who show up with the
sole purpose of getting drunk for free. A
vintner said a customer once walked into
the room clutching a beer bottle in each
I am certainly not going to inveigh
about the evils of alcohol. When I began
my newspaper career, the ability to hold
one's liquor was regarded as a
measure of maturity, much as
with gentlemen of the ante-
bellum South. The two-mar-
tini lunch was not unusual.
But that was long ago. If I
tried that sort of thing now
my head would roll under the
table and I'd have to spend
the rest of the afternoon try-
ing to reattach it.
I decided to drop my Lions
tickets a few years ago. Mostly
because of the putrid state of the fran-
chise, but also because I got tired spend-
ing my Sunday afternoon among a bunch
of young people intent on getting sloshed.
Midway through the third quarter, most
of the occupants of our section were too
plowed to yell "Fire Millen."
I wanted to suggest that they run straws
from their seats to the concession stands
to spare them the inconvenience of getting
up twice every quarter. But I also feared
the consequences of their not making a pit
stop on these trips.
As I said, I have no problem with drink-
ing. But getting incoherently drunk in
public is a distinct annoyance, and I think
that tendency is increasing.
I can't understand why they don't stay
home and do their drinking there if
that's the point of the day, instead of pay-
ing—with last week's price hikes — more
than $70 for a seat and $7 for lousy beer.
The great attraction of watching games in
sports bars eludes me, too.
Especially if you follow the Lions. I
regard this as a form of pain therapy and
feel it's much better to become sullen in
private or in the company of a few trusted
friends. Because, as my brother Mike once
pointed out, they may be the only team
in professional sports whose fight song is
drawn from the Book of Lamentations.
If you didn't drink before, they'd drive
you to it. ❑
George Cantor's e-mail address is
March 6 2008