Jewish Community Alarmed by Terror in Paris | NECN


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Jewish Community Alarmed by Terror in Paris

Friday's act of terror at a kosher market has New England's Jewish community on high alert



    (Published Friday, Jan. 9, 2015)

    A cowardly act of anti-semitism is how congregants at Temple Shalom Emeth are characterizing these attacks, the targeting of Jews in France with an impact felt here in New England.

    "Jews are careful now about walking around with a kippah, a head covering that communicates that they're Jewish," said Rob Leikind, director of AJC Boston, the American Jewish Committee.

    The voices of New England's Jewish community, registering their anguish, but sadly not their surprise, after a kosher supermarket in Paris was at the center of yet another terrorist attack in France.

    But for Leikind, the story is even more personal, with family living in Paris.

    "Thank God they're safe, but even before this event they had told me very plainly, how frightening it is for them and how uncertain it makes the future," he said.

    On Friday night at Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington, MA, there is a prayer for peace in France.

    The Anti-Defamation League of New England is also leading a program with police chiefs who were trained on counter terrorism in Israel in November.

    This program was previously scheduled, but the relevance now, can't be overstated.

    "Earlier today, we sent a security bulletin as a reminder to Jewish institutions across New England that this could happen anywhere," said Robert Trestan, regional director of ADL New England.

    "People in the community, they see something that isn't right, someone living down the street or a couple of brothers that are acting strangely, that's how information gets started, that's how cases get put together. We can stop things before they happen," said Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes.

    In Paris, this time, they could not. Fervent anti-semitism has become part of daily life.

    "Every Jewish facility needs guards. People have to make decisions at Jewish schools, are we going to pay money to hire a guard or are we going to pay money for a teacher?" Leikind added.

    The key is not to panic the public, especially not in New England.

    This will not, and leaders here say, should not mean armed guards at synagogues and Jewish businesses, but vigilance is critical.

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