Neighborhood temple speaks out on nationwide threats

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Nearly 100 bomb threats made against Jewish communities.

By Elena Longoria

A Jewish temple near this college is making security a “top priority” after bomb threats against Jewish centers and schools and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries around the nation.

Rabbi Alan Berlin is Temple Beth-El’s executive director. In a phone interview March 1 Berlin confirmed security is of utmost importance, but the procedures being implemented will not be released to the public.

“We are keeping security our top priority, but I can’t say what it is that we are doing,” Berlin said.

Berlin said no direct threats have been made to Temple Beth-El, but he recommends that the community stay aware since such threats have been going on for a while and they can be against any race.

“It’s bigotry and it opens the doors to racism against any race,” Berlin said.

Temple Beth-El, at 211 Belknap Place, also has a Jewish charter school in the same location. This college shares two parking lots with the temple: Lot 1 at Ashby and Belknap places and Lot 2 at San Pedro Avenue and Ashby Place.

According to ABC News, nearly 100 bomb threats have been made against Jewish temples and communities. A report from the Southern Poverty Law Center estimated 57 anonymous bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers in 24 states.

Bomb threats were made against Jewish communities and Jewish temples Feb. 21 in states such as Florida, Michigan and Missouri.

This caused an immediate evacuation for many Jewish temples and communities around the nation. The threats were made just a week after Jewish cemeteries had been vandalized and more than 100 graves in St. Louis and Philadelphia were targeted, according to CNN. Authorities also found toppled headstones at a Jewish cemetery March 2 in Rochester, N.Y., according to the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester.

Berlin said it is important to be aware of this situation for the safety of everyone.

“It can affect everybody. We all have a responsibility to protect one another,” Berlin said.

Alamo Colleges Police Cpl. Adrianna A. De Hoyos said it is important to report anything suspicious as soon as possible.

“The sooner you report it, the quicker we are to act on it,” De Hoyos said.

She recommends all students to be aware of their surroundings.

“Sometimes they are not paying attention or knowing where they are going and that makes them vulnerable,” she said.

She said Alamo Colleges Police are aware of the bomb threats against Jewish centers and take different “levels of security” to ensure safety for all students.

“We have parking attendants in most of the parking lots, including parking lot 2,” De Hoyos said.

Cyber security sophomore Jesus Herrera said he would keep parking at the Temple Beth-El parking lot regardless of bomb threats against other temples.

“I feel like there’s enough security and it can happen anywhere really,” he said.

He said students still park at this parking lot because they think it’s not going to happen here.

“I feel like everyone has the mentality that it won’t happen here — why would you want it (to happen here)?”

Threats against Jewish centers have been an ongoing issue for the Jewish community. Since the beginning of the year multiple threats have been made against Jewish community centers, and in the past two months they have increased, according to NBC News.

President Donald Trump spoke Feb. 22 about the incidents, calling them “horrible and painful events.” He said he is aware of the work that “must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”


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