I wanted to let all of you know that with the help of some of our Temple members I recently applied for a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to make some security improvements at the Temple. I am happy to announce that the Temple has been granted $74,000. We are planning to add video surveillance all around the building, and replacing some of our light fixtures. We will be replacing the doors at the north and south entrances of the upper level of our facility, and we will be adding new hardware to all of our entrances including panic bars so that you can exit the building in case of an emergency. We will be adding programmable key card scanners, as well as an automatic door opener for greater handicap accessibility at our Grand Avenue entrance.
These new features will make our building more secure, but it will take staff and members of our congregation working together to truly ensure the safety of everyone in our building. We recently held a “town hall” style meeting to discuss how we can continue to enhance security at the Temple. At this meeting we discussed limiting access to the Temple for all events and making sure that we had properly trained staff and volunteers present at all events to monitor the doors during the times they would be open.
Taking the feedback we received at this meeting, our Board of Trustees will be meeting in November
to discuss the security policies that we want to implement. These policies will cause some inconvenience as our members get used to the changes. For example if you forget something in your car during a service, you will have to be mindful of the fact that the door will be locked when you exit the building. You will have to let someone know to let you back in the building. That will be inconvenient, but limiting, controlling, and monitoring access to our building is one of the best ways to ensure the safety of everyone inside, and that benefit far outweighs the inconvenience.
Could a violent incident happen here? I hope and pray that it doesn’t, but shortly after I wrote my original draft of this article I saw the news about Tree of Life Synagogue. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see that once again a faith community was the target of an act of violence, and it was very clear that this incident occurred because anti-semitism is very much on the rise in our world.
We cannot change how people will see us, we cannot change the fact that some people will hate us, but we can make sure that we continue to be a light in this world. We can make sure that everyone who enters our doors is secure and safe. I’m very proud of the fact that we have been taking proactive steps to ensure the safety and security of everyone in our building, and I know that working together we will do everything we can to ensure that Temple B’nai Jeshurun is a safe place for all who enter.
Shalom, David Muenchrath