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New Shabbat-friendly security system will alert US synagogues to potential danger

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22.09.2022

JTA – How do you learn of an antisemitic threat on Shabbat if your congregation isn’t connected all day?

That’s the question that the Orthodox Union, the largest umbrella organization for Orthodox Jewish congregations in the US, has wrestled with for the last few years. The most high-profile antisemitic attacks, including the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and the hostage-taking in Colleyville, Texas, have targeted houses of worship on Shabbat — a time when Orthodox Jews refrain from using phones, electronics or the internet.

“This was a concern that we have heard across the Orthodox community,” Michael Masters, CEO of the Jewish security nonprofit Secure Community Network, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Referring to people who observe strict Jewish laws governing behavior on Shabbat, he voiced the question, “How do we alert those who are shomer Shabbos?”

On Tuesday, Masters’ group together with the Orthodox Union announced that it had identified a device that could allow security officials to do just that, without violating the laws around using electronics on Shabbat. It is inviting synagogues to purchase the device — which the OU said had been vetted by a leading rabbi, Herschel Schachter — at a discounted rate.

Along with another initiative to bolster tracking of antisemitic incidents experienced by Orthodox Jews, the effort is meant to help community members feel safe — including on Shabbat and holidays.

“With the High Holidays just around the corner, this is a time........

© The Times of Israel


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