Alabama’s Jewish places of worship are on high alert Friday after Hamas leaders called for a day of rage.
The Secure Community Network helps train and inform Jewish communities nationwide about safety. Due to internet threats, the group already focused on security during the high holidays this year. However, training became more specific after the Hamas threats and the war in Israel.
“We’re working with communities across the country, including Birmingham,” Wyatt Ronan, the communications and marketing director for the Secure Community Network, told 1819 News.
While it is essential for those of the Jewish faith to gather and to be able to host high holiday services, it is equally vital for them to take extra precautions.
The Secure Community Network has trained several Jewish locations in Alabama on how to continue to protect their congregations. The training leading up to the high holidays this year included how to have an increased security posture, such as having a single point of entry and emergency exits, no bags or backpacks, metal detection, and proactive emergency preparedness with local law enforcement.
Ronan said there had been an uptick in “swatting” among Jewish communities, which is fake threats that often lead to a significant police presence and, in some cases, SWAT teams. He said there are often copycat cases of swatting.
Senior national security advisor Bradley Orsini said swatting incidents mischaracterize what is actually happening in the Jewish community. However, he said it is still important for security officials to prepare at synagogues and temples and events held outside of places of worship.
“We really need to take careful care and consideration of what we are looking for during that high holiday season,” Orsini said.
Officials advise all Jewish leaders to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement immediately.
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected].
Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.