Synagogues Employ Extra Security Measures For Shabbat

Until I was 20, I used to go to church almost every Sabbath. I never recall security guards. Yet I have almost never been to a shul on Shabbat that did not have a security guard.

Here’s the email from YICC:

Dear Members,

In light of the situation in Israel, we will be extra cautious this Shabbat. We request your cooperation and compliance with directives. There is no specific threat; we are just being cautious – as advised.

The front doors on Pico will be locked and manned by the security guards.

Please know that you will only be able to enter the Shul from the back gate where we will have an armed guard on duty. This guard works for us on the High Holidays and is familiar with our crowd and routine.

Once you have entered the back gate please be sure to move quickly to where you need to be. Park your strollers in a responsible manner where you will not obstruct exits. Drop your children at their groups and encourage them to remain there. Please advise your children to not engage the guards in conversation or "hang" on Pico. When services are over please try not to linger on Pico in front of the Shul – keep moving along home. Please be alert, and if you observe something "odd" – make note of details and report it to the guards or if neccessary to the police.

Bnai David-Judea emails its members:

Together with Young Israel of Century City and Beth Jacob, we will be gathering to offer Tehillim and Tefilla on behalf of Medinat Yisrael and her soldiers. Please add your voice and your presence to this gathering of solidarity and prayer. We at BDJ will have the honor of hosting this gathering on Thursday evening, January 1, at 8 PM.

Philadelphia peace activist Adam Horowitz wins the award for the article that raises my blood pressure the highest. He writes:

There has been an unusual amount of introspection in the Jewish community this holiday season. Hanukkah was almost overshadowed by the Madoff scandal and the accompanying uproar about his impact on the Jewish community. The frenzy of handwringing and accusation culminated with the call for Madoff’s excommunication from Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, of Temple Beth El in Stamford, Connecticut, who stated in a passionate a letter to Malcolm Hoenlein that "never before has one man done such damage to individual Jews, Jewish organizations and Judaism itself." Hammerman was motivated by fears for the future of Judaism: "Our own children are watching us."

The future of Judaism and the moral standing of the US Jewish community are being threatened, but ironically, and tragically, it is happening far from the country clubs of Palm Beach and the mansions of Long Island. It is happening in Gaza. And unfortunately there is far too little handwringing about it in the Jewish leadership.

On the seventh day of Hanukkah, Israel unleashed an aerial assault on the Gaza Strip. This attack was ostensibly in retaliation for Qassam missiles shot from Gaza, but as was also seen in the 2006 war in Lebanon, the barrage was overwhelming and disproportional. At the end of the first three days of fighting over 350 Gazans had been killed and 1,600 injured. These deaths included children coming home from school, women shopping in open-air markets, and people waiting for buses. The indiscriminate nature of the attack combined with the ongoing siege of Gaza, which continues to cut the civilian population off from food, medicine, water, fuel and electricity, constitutes a horrific form of collective punishment.

…I could not celebrate Hanukkah this year. Even before the Israeli attacks began, the images from the human-made disaster of the Gaza siege made celebration impossible.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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