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On guard


Area synagogues increase security for Passover

by Shani McManus

JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The latest videotape of Osama Bin Laden, in which he threatens to "attack the U.S. homeland," has some in the Jewish community thinking that if the threat becomes a reality, Jews and Jewish establishments could be a main target.

To prepare for the possibility, heightened security measures have been employed by many local synagogues for the upcoming Passover observance.

"We live in a world where if one is not vigilant, he or she is simply not acting responsibly," said Rabbi Sholom Ciment of Chabad of Boynton Beach who, for security purposes, declined to detail exactly what measures the Chabad has in place.

"But we remain steadfast in our faith that by utilizing the right mediums of protection available to us, the vessel for God's blessings of protection will be solid."Rabbi Ivan Wachmann of Temple Sholom in Pompano Beach is taking Bin Laden's threat seriously, and said the synagogue has bolstered its security.

"We can't afford to wait for something to happen ...we must be prepared," he said. "We're beefing up security not just for Passover, but for all year long in light of what Bin Laden recently said that 'all Jews are our targets.'"

Other synagogue leaders, some of whom feel security measures at their houses of worship could be better, are moving Passover services to other facilities where safety isn't a concern.

"What we usually do for Passover is rent a reception room at the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort that has security in place," Rabbi Celso Cukierkorn, of Adat Achim Synagogue in Sunny Isles, said. "We do that because I consider our synagogue to be a welcoming place and that way, we won't have to be worried about terrorist threats. We want to have the doors open for people."

Diane Goldman, manager of Temple Beth Tikvah in Greenacres, said the synagogue has taken measures to keep its congregation safe.

"We are upgrading our security cameras, and we have armed security guard on premises whenever the building is in use," she said.

Origininally featured on the front page of The Jewish Journal April 8, 2008