At my synagogue on Yom Kippur, the President of my congregation went out of her way to thank the Federation for reimbursing congregations for ALL armed security guards over the High Holy Days. It felt good that a sanctuary full of congregants heard that message about Federation. I expect many other of our local synagogues did the same. We are funding this not because security on the holidays is a new cost for most congregations, but because we recognize the increased costs throughout the year for many and this was a tangible way for us to financially assist.
When I arrived home Wednesday night for our break-the-fast, the first thing I did was turn on my phone and text Brad Orsini to find out if Yom Kippur had been quiet. He let me know about the attack that took place in Halle, Germany and that he had communicated with our community during the holiday that there was no additional threat locally. I was shocked to hear the news. Another antisemitic attack, however this one did not work out as the attacker had intended. Due to improvements made through The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Security Assistance Fund, the gunman was unable to enter the synagogue. This essential fund provides financial aid outside the United States and Canada to keep synagogues, community centers and schools secure by shoring up these facilities with extra safety measures such as CCTV, alarms, locks, gates, and reinforced walls/doors/windows. The Jewish Agency for Israel is the largest of our two main overseas organizations we support. You, our donors, had a hand in saving lives on Yom Kippur bringing extra meaning to the question we asked in our synagogues, “Who shall live and who shall die?”.
On Thursday, I wrote to Max Privorozki, the head of the congregation in Halle, and offered any support or assistance we can provide. Part of what I wrote was:
“We are very engaged in upgrading our own community’s security and looking at the issue of mental health and trauma. If any of that knowledge could be helpful, please let us know.
“Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh La Zeh. We are all responsible for one another. “
Today (Friday), Max responded to me and this is a part of what he wrote:
“…it was murder of your members and it was murder of two people in Halle…These murders have something that unite: a hate. Hate towards Jews. Hate towards people.
“Shabbat Shalom ve Hag Sukkot sameach to Pittsburgh from Halle!”
I end my message with the words of Max Privorozki, “Shabbat Shalom ve Hag Sukkot sameach to Pittsburgh from Halle!”.