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Local Jewish community talks security after Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

The Anti-Defamation League said Saturday’s attack in Pittsburgh on a local synagogue was the worst act of violence against the Jewish community in American history.

The ADL says almost two thousand incidents motivated by anti-Jewish bias were reported in 2017, up nearly 60 percent from 2016.

Susan Katz, executive director at the Jewish Federation of Peoria, says it’s not the only thing on the rise.

“I think that we’re living in a time right now when xenophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry is on the rise. The ADL reports show that,” said Katz.

Katz tells me security has been a topic of discussion in the Jewish community for a long time.

After the mass shooting Saturday, President Trump offered his thoughts on temple security.

“This is a case where if they had an armed guard inside they might have been able to stop him immediately,” said Trump. “And maybe there would have been nobody killed except for him, frankly.”

Katz says they use security guards at public events but aren’t sure armed guards at synagogues are the answer.

“I don’t think any of us want to see our houses of worship become Army fortresses. And there were police on the scene immediately and three of them are in the hospital now. I don’t know that that’s the answer,” said Katz.

One thing Katz says the Jewish community discusses is how to still be warm and welcoming while providing the safety and security they need.

Tim Shelley

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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