Arming synagogues? Jewish leaders grapple with balancing safety and accessibility

In the aftermath of two synagogue shootings exactly six months apart, in addition to arson incidents at Chabad Houses in Massachusetts and an attempted arson attempt at a Chicago synagogue last month, the issue of security, specifically armed personnel, has been in the spotlight. Some have called for supporting the idea, while others, especially those who favor strict gun control, have expressed their opposition to the idea.

Three arson incidents occurred in Massachusetts within a week during the month of May. Two occurred at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Arlington, while another happened at the Chabad Jewish Center in Needham. State and federal law enforcement are investigating these incidents.

Rabbi Mendy Krinsky directs the Needham location with his wife, Chanie, who smelled a fire that outside their home, which the rabbi extinguished “before the smoke alarms even went off,” according to the wife in a Facebook post.

“Jewish community centers throughout the United States have been addressing the evolving nature of the threats against them for many years,” the rabbi told JNS. “When an attack does occur, it’s a time to re-evaluate and continue to enhance security measures.”

Read More: Jewish News Syndicate