The shooting in Pittsburgh this past weekend is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.
Jewish community leaders said these acts of hate reminds them that the threat is real –no matter where you live. Meredith Dragon with the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester said places once considered safe havens in this country — were called to question.
“When you look at Jewish communities in Europe, they’ve had armed guards and gates around Jewish institutions for decades and I think in the United States, we’ve always prided ourselves in the fact that we don’t need to do that because of the way we live and sadly I think we’re moving in that direction,” said Dragon.
Local synagogues have stepped up security in the wake of the mass shooting. Once Rabbi Avi Kilimnick, of Congregation Beth Sholom, heard of the horrific news he sent out a letter of condolence to the members of his congregation.
“We’re going to have to talk about security in our synagogue that’s definitely going to be a concern and how we can be there for each other and potentially help the Pittsburgh community,” said Rabbi Kilimnick.
Rabbi Kilimnick said they already have a security guard on the weekends and the building itself is secure during the week. Still he will be going over protocols with his congregation next week.
“This isn’t the first time something like this has happened and unfortunately it won’t be the last, but these hate crimes will not pull the Jewish community down, we will push forward,” said Rabbi Kilimnick.
According to the Anti Defamation League, there has been a 60 percent increase in Anti Semitism just within the last two years.
“We see it here locally we’ve seen incidents in Brighton, Pittsford and elsewhere where people feel emboldened to spew hatred,” said Dragon.
That being said, Sunday’s vigil made something very clear.
“We’re not going to be silent and were going to stand together, we’re not going to be afraid to come to our Jewish institutions or other institutions and we have the strength to persevere, we’re not going to let hate stand in our way,” said Dragon.