TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — For Jewish synagogues across the county, tight security measures are nothing new.
Rabbi Andrew Paley, Senior Rabbi at Temple Shalom in Dallas, said the safety of his congregation is an ever-evolving effort.
After the hostage crisis at Congregation Beth Israel on Saturday, Rabbi Paley is, once again, evaluating his Synagogue’s security plan with a heightened sense of awareness.
“That’s a constant conversation we have,” said Rabbi Paley.
His congregation will keep this week’s worship services as planned.
“There’s a lot to handle, but we will go on,” said Rabbi Paley.
After the Colleyville hostage crisis, his congregation is reviewing their safety plan.
Federal and local enforcement agencies, along with leaders of the Dallas-Fort Worth Jewish community, are urging synagogues to remain vigilant in case of copycat attacks.
Barry Abels, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County and other leaders wrote a letter to area synagogues, which read in part:
“Be assured that your leadership from throughout the community will be continuing to review, analyze and update our security protocols and procedures, provide more training for our community, and seek additional funding to make our places of worship and other facilities more secure. As we know from this experience, being prepared is an ongoing process and is hard to predict what will befall us. This work is a priority.”
Abels said the Jewish community is constantly looking at ways to improve safety plans. He helps synagogues find ways to be vigilant year-round, but after the Colleyville attack, there’s a heightened sense for safety awareness.
“We’ve always said it’s not about what’s gonna happen or if it’s gonna happen, it’s when. So, we’ve had one of our when’s, so now we look at what we do to mitigate this kind of thing in the future,” Abels said. "It’s horrible that we have to do that, but it’s a necessary piece of life today."
After Saturday’s synagogue attack, the Anti-Defamation League called on Congress to double funding aimed at bolstering security at Jewish schools and houses of worship.
Safety concerns continue to be an unfortunate reality for those who so desperately want to worship without fear.
“If the weight of the responsibility of added security and all these other measures is the weight that we have to bear towards a time when we don’t have to worry about that, then that’s what we will do,” said Rabbi Paley.
He is hopeful that there will come a day in which congregations can gather to worship without concern for their safety.