Local Jewish leaders talk safety in light of recent synagogue shootings

Local News

LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) – Local Jewish leaders say they are stunned to hear about another synagogue shooting just six months after the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018.

On April 27, 2019, a synagogue in San Diego, California, was shot at by a 19-year-old gunman, killing one woman and wounding three others.

Those in the Jewish community living here in the Valley say they are shocked and saddened.

“Shock … and wondering where it’s going to go, what we can do about it, how people can stay safe,” said Rabbi Joseph Schonberger, Temple El Emeth.

At Temple El Emeth in Liberty, there are measures put in place to keep families safe.

“We have to think realistically enough to acknowledge that it does happen, and we have to do what we can to make our communities safe,” Rabbi Schonberger said.

That includes having reinforced windows, locked doors and police officers present.

“There are evil people. There are people who negate the humanity of others and we have to take safeguards,” Rabbi Schonberger said.

Those safeguards stretch to the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown.

“Whenever the facility here is open, we do have a commissioned officer on duty and we do provide support to the synagogues as well. There are police officers there when they have events,” said Elise Skolnick, director of communications for the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation.

Rabbi Schonberger says safety starts with treating each other with respect and appreciation.

“We don’t have to agree with each other, but God wants us all to live as a family,” he said.

And being vigilant when we see the signs that someone may cause harm.

“So that, all the attempts to dehumanize and minimize the humanity of Jews, Christians, all people will be opposed … Just as we’ve overcome the past, we need to work together, all faith groups, to overcome for the future,” Rabbi Schonberger said.

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