A Holocaust Survivor’s Child Shares National Council of Jewish Women’s Response to Events at The Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, Principles of Active Shooter Training to Incorporate in Daily Life, and How to Talk to Grandchildren About Terrorism

As a child of Holocaust survivors, I was not only horrified, I was and am terrified by the January 15, 2022 terrorist attack on the synagogue in Texas. We children of Holocaust survivors tend to immediately go to catastrophe, so this being the third tragedy of this sort in three years, I think the state of American Jews should be taken most seriously.

PopPop and I have traveled the world and try to see Jewish sites and synagogues in the locales we visit. We are pros in knowing that, as intended visitors, we must make contact months in advance, provide copies of our passports and personal information for them to check with what we have been told in some locations is Israeli provided intelligence before we even get permission to make an appointment. We are used to the high security, identity checks, secured perimeters, highly fortified and secure facilities, checkpoints, cameras, armed vehicles and armed guards, the interviews, the metal detectors and searches before entry. In Rio De Janeiro, we visited the Jewish Community Center that had been bombed by terrorists causing many deaths and much destruction, going through several checkpoints before entry, a very sobering experience.

Never did I think America would have to join in the necessity of high security to even enter a house of worship. Jews around the world are hiding their identity and attacks on Jews are increasing in the United States to a level I never expected. Never again is becoming maybe again. I will never understand such hatred, even though my family personally suffered immensely in the Holocaust.  United States Jewish sites, facilities and synagogues are learning to incorporate the worldwide protective measures.

NCJW RESPONSE TO EVENTS AT THE SYNAGOGUE IN COLLEYVILLE, TEXAS

I am a life member of National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), which “. . . . strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. . . .”

National Council of Jewish Women issued a statement condemning the Texas attack on the Jewish community, and the rise of antisemitism throughout our country. NCJW members were asked share the full statement. Here it is, with which I wholeheartedly agree. Please share it and this post.

“For the third time in just over three years, the peace of the Jewish Sabbath has been desecrated by an act of violent hate against worshippers inside a synagogue. After a horrifying and harrowing day, we are grateful for the safety of all four hostages, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, in yesterday’s attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas.

We pray for the Rabbi Cytron-Walker, his congregants, and their families as they process this trauma, and for our Jewish community struggling under the weight of fear and insecurity. Our synagogues and community spaces must be made safe and we will continue to work with partner organizations and law enforcement to ensure all are able to pray and gather in peace.

We call on the Biden administration and Congress to take the threat of antisemitism seriously and work to address it with comprehensive policies informed by the lived experience of American Jews. Though only 2% of people in the United States are Jewish, the FBI reports that 58% of all religiously motivated hate crimes target Jews. How many more people have to experience antisemitism before real action is taken to prevent attacks like this and address day-to-day discrimination?

Antisemitism has no place in Texas and no place in America. We call on our partners and allies to work with us to combat antisemitism in all its forms. And we urge all to remember that Islamophobia is not a curative for antisemitism and is never acceptable. Hate cannot be cured with more hate. A more whole and just society can only be brought into being when we can come together in solidarity and community.”

CONGREGATION BETH ISRAEL RABBI CHARLES CYTRON-WALKER’S STATEMENTS REPORTED IN THE WASHINGTON POST

What impacted this Grandma in the news was Rabbi Charles Cytron-Walker’s statements and what was reported in the Washington Post January 17, 2022, in “ ‘Some people just don’t like us:’ In a Texas synagogue, 11 hours of terror,” by Marc Fisher, Drew Harwell and Mary Beth Gahan.  Here are some of his statements and pertinent portions of the article:

“We know that some people just don’t like us,” Rabbi Charles Cytron-Walker said in his final sermon of 2021. “Antisemitic attacks over the past couple weeks include a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, a hateful attack on a Hanukkah party bus in London, and multiple cases of vandalism worldwide. We know that antisemitism is out there.”

. . . .

“As welcoming as he was, Cytron-Walker made security “very much a part of the congregational culture” at Beth Israel,  . . . . The rabbi did not start meetings without announcing where the exits were . . . . and synagogue leaders had gone through active-shooter training.

On Aug. 22, security experts from the Secure Community Network, a nonprofit that works with Jewish congregations to prepare for attacks, visited Beth Israel and met with Cytron-Walker, inspecting the building’s perimeter, reviewing safety measures and practicing drills on how to behave in the event of a shooting.”

. . .

“Later, the rabbi praised the training he’d had from police, the FBI, the ADL and other Jewish groups: ‘We are alive today because of that education.’ “

APPLY THE PRINCIPLES OF ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING IN YOUR DAILY LIFE AND HOW TO TALK TO GRANDCHILDREN ABOUT TERRORISM

We can educate ourselves. See previous post, December 25, 2015 after shootings in Paris and California, setting forth principles in the training to use in daily life, “Active Shooter Training and How to Talk to Grandchildren About Terrorism Are Things We Grandmas All Must Know.”

On January 16, 2022,  Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, “[t]his kind of threat did not begin when this attack started yesterday, and it will not end with the hostages free. The harsh reality is that there continues to be a rise in the language of hate and its connectivity to violence.”

Unfortunately, our modern American life includes training and preparation for terrorism.

 

With little joy,

Mema

 

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