Violence prompts synagogue to increase security

Posted at 5:49 PM, May 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 13:14:57-04

There were some tense moments at a Jewish school on Eggert Road in the Town of Amherst Wednesday morning. Kadimah Academy School officials said an anonymous bomb threat was called into the office around 8:30 am.

The school was evacuated while authorities swept the building. Ultimately, police determined there was no bomb and the building was safe. It is one of many threats happening to Jewish schools across the country.

It has those in the Jewish community on high alert. New surveillance cameras are about to be one more line of defense at congregation B'rith Hadoshah in Amherst. “You don't know if some deranged individual or an act of terror is going to happen in your workplace,” said Rabbi Frank Lowinger.

Lowinger said they're taking extra precautions. The temple has an armed guard at all functions. It also installed an alarm system about six months ago. Now it's adding six surveillance cameras to the property.

Lowinger said it's in response to increased acts of violence and threats across the nation. That includes the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California last year. There, authorities said the shooter had a heated discussion with a Jewish victim about Islam in the weeks prior.

“To say things have changed radically for the worse is a gross understatement.”

Lowinger said they haven't received any threats of their own. But these security measures prove they aren't taking any chances. “I don't want to live with regrets. Should have, would have, could have. I want to do what we need to do to safe guard the people who come in here and trust us.”