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Local synagogue reevaluates safety after Pittsburgh shooting

Temple B'nai Sholom has had a safety plan in place for years, but the temple president said they're always making updates.

Posted: Oct 28, 2018 10:32 PM
Updated: Oct 29, 2018 3:10 PM

One day after the horrific shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the Temple B'nai Sholom safety committee visited the temple to rework their safety plan. Temple Rabbi Eric Berk encouraged anyone who's worried about safety in their place of worship to say something if they see something suspicious.

Berk and others of the Jewish faith met at The Rock Family Worship Center, a local non-denominational church, Sunday night to celebrate Israel just one day after someone sought to kill the nation's people.

"It is a sad reality of the world that there are those who hate so deeply, so thoroughly, that they're driven to such acts of horrific violence," Berk said.

The temple's president, Ann Vanleeuwen, told WAAY 31 the temple has had a security plan in place for years, but it's always changing. Vanleeuwen said the temple has cameras inside and outside of the building as well as locks on all of the doors. She also said the temple's security committee is developing an evacuation plan to make sure the congregation knows what to do if the worst were to happen.

"We ought not to live our lives in fear," Berk said.

Even in the face of Saturday's religious persecution Rabbi Berk said he's committed to keeping the temple doors open for all who want to learn and worship.

"There are, I'd like to believe, more people that accept us than those who hate us," Berk said.

The temple president also said the security committee had Huntsville police officers and firefighters walk through their building and point out any weaknesses when the committee created the temple's initial safety plan, and they are prepared to ask for the same assistance again if needed.

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