With a broken heart, I attended the prayer vigil at Tifereth Israel to mourn 11 lives lost at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. It’s estimated that over 1,000 people attended the vigil with 500 people filling the sanctuary and lobby area and another 500 standing outside and encircling the synagogue. Those who attended listened to religious leaders from across the area show their support for the Jewish community. Rabbi Kaufman’s emotional and compelling speech was well received. Speeches from Rabbi Barton, Rabbi Jacobson as well as deacons, reverends, pastors and an imam expressed their unity against violence. The vigil ended with all of the religious leaders standing at the front of the sanctuary singing “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”
As all of us come to grips with this latest tragedy, it’s important to know that Temple and the entire Jewish community will continue to discuss the next steps in how we can better secure our facilities. Although there are no easy answers to this challenging topic, we continue to take steps to assess our current security at Temple and how we can improve it.
Both Rabbi Kaufman and David Muenchrath recently held a meeting open to all congregants about security and discussed possible options to prevent unwanted visitors from entering our building. In addition, we recently purchased and will soon install a monitoring system that will oversee our entrances. David recently applied for and was awarded a federal grant that focuses exclusively on security enhancements to our facility. All of these examples are measures we are taking to enhance security.
Our Board is committed to addressing the security challenges that face us and will begin outlining and adopting policies that will ensure the safety of our congregants and guests. Any new policies are meant to ensure a safe environment at Temple. Like anything new, it will take time for any new policy to become the new normal. All of us are part of the solution and we all need to work together to ensure a secure and welcoming congregation.
I appreciate your patience and support as we continue to address this challenging issue.