Threats to Jewish people are significantly increasing. Antisemitic attacks, threats and incitement have been on a rise throughout the United States, Canada, the UK, and across Europe. The recent mass murder at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, PA reinforces the need for us to reconsider and substantially enhance our traditional security measures.
What security measures are congregants asking for, and which are likely to be most effective?
Metal detectors at doors are a great idea.
Asking for more police drive-bys can’t hurt, but it may have little protective effect.
Security cameras are not as helpful as most people think. They only rarely provide info that prevents a murder. They usually only help provide evidence to charge a murderer with a crime, after the shooting has ended.
Many security experts thus tell us that synagogues should always have a couple of licensed, trained, armed members at every single Shabbat and holiday service. Yes, this means people carry loaded, concealed weapons.
This should be done in careful, informed manner. Synagogues setting up this kind of enhanced security should cooperate with security experts on the national level, local gun owning members, and the local police.
Security cameras, prayers, and tears won’t stop a gunman entering our sanctuary with a rifle. Only a person in the room can do so.
Please read carefully – what I am writing here is nuanced, and not related to any political view. Having a couple of people who are licensed and trained to carry firearms, is a moderate, sensible policy. It is non-political, and already accepted in many communities.
This isn’t an Either/Or situation. We can simultaneously work to tighten loopholes in gun control laws, yet recognize the need for our families to have meaningful security and protection.