RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It has been one week since a terrorist held a Rabbi and three congregants’ hostage at a Texas synagogue. The FBI is calling it an act of terrorism and a hate crime.
The rabbi at the Colleyville synagogue said they were able to escape safely, because of security training they had been through. It’s the same training Jewish leaders in the Triangle have also completed.
“It’s remarkable to think about parents and children coming to celebrate our religious traditions or heritage, and faith, and have to worry, when I drop off this my child, am I going to walk in this door and be at risk?” Rabbi Eric Solomon, from Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh, said.
It’s a risk he, and other leaders at the congregation, aren’t willing to chance.
“We had done some light training, and it became strong and intense around the time of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, where, sadly, 11 Jews were killed,” Solomon said.
They’ve amped up their security training, and have worked with the Raleigh Police Department, Jewish organizations and national organizations on how to prevent tragedies in their own places of worship.
“Some of (the training) is very similar, sadly, to what happens in public schools, and what teachers and other organizations have had to deal with, as well as what’s called active shooter training,” Solomon said.
Even then, Solomon knows it may not be enough, especially after last week’s hostage situation in Colleyville.
“Every time we have a major gathering at the synagogue, including Shabbat services, but even other events, we do have a police officer,” he said. “It’s a sad statement about the state of the world today.”
A world Solomon told CBS 17, could be made a little safer, with the help of those outside of the Jewish community, standing with them.
“When you hear or see something, God forbid a threat, we ask you to speak,” he said. “Use your voice to make it aware to authorities, but even to speak against others who say anti-Semitic, or any type of hateful language on the internet, or social media, or any place.”
In an act of solidarity, the Beth Meyer congregation, as well as others across the Triangle, had hoped to have in-person Shabbat weekly services. But because of the winter storm, it was moved to a virtual service.
Solomon told CBS 17 even though they weren’t physically able to be together, they were spiritually and virtually.