Synagogues on heightened alert during high holidays

Originally posted by WishTV

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For people of the Jewish faith, Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of a new Jewish calendar year.

The holiday begins at sundown on Sept. 15. It is followed by Yom Kippur on September 24th and 25th, which is a day of atonement for Jews.

With attacks against the Jewish community becoming more frequent, some may be discouraged from attending services.

“If anybody doesn’t go to synagogue, then in a way, they’ve won, and we don’t want that,” said Brad Swim.

Swim is a retired FBI agent turned security consultant for the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis. He’s also a regional advisor for the Secure Community Network, which provides security and support for synagogues, schools, and other Jewish organizations.

“We certainly recommend a variety of security measures. We are interested in a layered approach to security,” said Swim.

Swim said that despite making up only 2% of the US population, Jews are the target of more than 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes.

“We’re all about being proactive, and preventative, so we provide training, we provide preparedness, assistance, we provide consultations with synagogues, Hebrew schools, and also liaison with law enforcement and first responders,” said Swim.

Swim wants worshippers to understand that we no longer live in a time where it was unthinkable for someone to target a house of worship.

“What we don’t want is fear and paranoia that causes hyperfocus. We also don’t want anyone in a state of denial, saying that it won’t happen here, it couldn’t happen here,” said Swim.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis also has a close working relationship with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. IMPD is looped in on any potential threats to the Jewish community.