Cheshire synagogue prepared as threats against Jewish community continue

Cheshire synagogue prepared as threats against Jewish community continue

Record-Journal
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Temple Beth David President Kim Math at the synagogue in Cheshire on Monday, March 6. | Bryan Lipiner, Record-Journal

CHESHIRE — Temple Beth David officials say they are prepared in the event a threat is made against the synagogue.

Kim Math, the synagogue’s president, said threats and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries across the country have been frightening.

“I don’t remember ever in my lifetime seeing such a rash of anti-Semitic behavior,” she said. “When you grow up in religious school, you’re taught about it, you learn about the Holocaust, different types of behaviors, different types of discrimination.

“To actually see it firsthand so intensely, it’s a little scary,” she added.

Since early January, Jewish community centers and institutions around the country, including area centers in West Hartford and Woodbridge, have received more than 100 bomb threats in multiple waves. On Tuesday, community centers in several states and a school in Massachusetts received threats.

The Anti-Defamation League said it also received bomb threats at its offices in Boston, New York, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The organization has called on President Donald Trump and lawmakers to take action.

“This is not ‘normal.’ We will not be deterred or intimated,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement.

Jewish cemeteries have also been vandalized. In February, about 150 headstones were damaged or tipped at a cemetery outside St. Louis. A similar incident also occurred at a cemetery in Philadelphia.

Math said the Cheshire synagogue is prepared for threats, but she declined to disclose specific steps the synagogue has taken.

“We have resources we’re pulling from to ensure that we have adequate plans in case there is a credible threat made,” she said.

Temple Beth David was established in 1968 and moved into its current building, at 3 Main St., a short time later. The synagogue serves about 200 families.

Rabbi Ilene Bogosian said police notified the synagogue and increased patrols around the building after a threat was made in January against the Jewish Community Center of New Haven in Woodbridge. The community center also alerted other area synagogues as a precaution.

“That was a very reassuring thing,” Bogosian said.

Bogosian said the best way to combat threats and vandalism is to contact authorities.

“The constant threat, it’s so disruptive of communities,” she said. “This is something of another dimension. Sometimes there’s nothing much you can say, except call your local law enforcement and have them attend to the mater. I don’t think these are people you can talk to.”

Math said members of the synagogue feel safe despite the ongoing threats.

“We feel fairly safe here,” Math said.

blipiner@record-journal.com 203-317-2444 Twitter: @BryanLipiner




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