US Communities Step Up to Protect Jewish Americans

( – In response to the rising wave of antisemitic sentiments, which has surged following Hamas’ attack on Israel on Saturday, October 7, Jewish communities nationwide are enhancing their security measures. This includes looking for help from US communities.

While Jews constitute a mere 2.5% of the US population, they face over half of religiously motivated hate crimes, as per the FBI’s 2021 Hate Crime Statistics report. According to Evan Bernstein, the CEO and National Director of the Community Security Service, an organization committed to safeguarding Jewish life and traditions, around 50 synagogues have reached out for support. Jewish communities and synagogues in the US have also heightened their security efforts following the attack by Hamas.

Bernstein highlighted the role of the Community Security Service’s thousands of active volunteers working in tandem with law enforcement, off-duty police, and private security personnel to bolster security at synagogues across the nation.

In New York, images of concern have spread on social media including a protestor displaying a swastika during a demonstration. Evan Bernstein voiced concerns that events like this provide a platform for antisemitism online, which, according to him, might lead to isolated acts of violence against Jewish people.

Investigations are underway into two incidents. One involved a Temple Beth Israel employee discovering a broken front door early in the morning. The second incident involved broken windows at the Noah’s Ark Restaurant and Bakery along with a newspaper containing a handwritten threat against Jewish-owned businesses, according to Fresno Police Department Chief Paco Balderrama.

Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, from the Shul of Bal Harbour, has taken proactive steps to ensure the safety of congregants. He mentioned maintaining heightened security, frequent perimeter checks, and an overall state of vigilance.

Given the ongoing conflict in Israel, experts anticipate a likelihood of further targeted acts of violence in the short term, with the conflict being exploited by extremist groups for propaganda across various ideological spectrums.

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