Houses of worship are meant to provide a refuge from the world outside. They are places to pray, learn, celebrate, mourn and serve others.
They are also the targets of violence.
Violent hatred has intruded into our synagogues, Jewish institutions, camps and schools—and the minds of far too many individuals. The expression of this hatred has increased, with a rise in anti-Semitic incidents and an increase
in hate crimes.
Though long conditioned to be on alert to armed threats, many Jewish communities have found themselves grasping for answers about how to best protect themselves in the wake of more recent mass shootings, including those
in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Poway, California—as well those in secular places, like the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, or the Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that targeted specific groups of people.
Faced with the threat of armed intruders, many communities have sought to protect themselves with firearms of their own. Some communities coordinate with police departments to place uniformed on-duty or off-duty officers outside
their doors. Others may work with off-duty officers directly, either individually or through private companies. Others wonder if they should encourage congregants to carry weapons or place firearms in the hands of private security
contractors. That raises questions of what kind of standards or training these individuals have, or should have.
Sponsor: Secure Community Network