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March 10, 2015 4:56 pm

Expert Urges Synagogues to Reassess Security Following Surveillance Scare

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Police confer outside Congregation Beth Torah. Photo: Office of Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

A leading security expert has strongly urged all synagogues to invest in security training following reports of suspicious activity at Brooklyn synagogues.

“Synagogues and other Jewish institutions must do more to invest in training their staff and congregants to be able to identify and report suspicious activity,” said Dr. Joshua Gleis, president of Gleis Security Consulting, a leading security firm that works with Jewish institutions.

“Investing in operational security training, as opposed to just security hardware, is critical.”

Gleis’s comments follow reports of suspicious surveillance activity at two Brooklyn synagogues. Recent Security footage showed two men taking pictures in front of the Bet Yaakob synagogue on Ocean Parkway. Within seconds, a security guard confronted the men. The men quickly left the scene.

There was a similar incident that same day at Congregation Beth Torah in Brooklyn.

While police identified the men in Brooklyn, and found no evidence of criminal activity, the incident highlights the need for sound security at every synagogue, according to Gleis. He believes that the community should treat incidents like these as “wake-up” calls.

“Most attacks are preceded by surveillance,” warned Gleis. “It is the time where the community can have the most impact in assisting law enforcement by reporting the activity, and hopefully preventing a potential attack.”

Gleis’s comments also follow the murder of Dan Uzan, who was killed only weeks ago by a jihadist while standing guard outside a Copenhagen synagogue during a bat mitzvah party.

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  • David Goshen

    Thecomplete overhaul of security at Jewish Centers worldwide in much overdue.There is a need to take the folloing steps:
    1Security guards should NOT be identifiable by tettorist attackkers/They should be dressed in civilian clothes but well armed and able to “to take out” any terrorist attacker.
    They should blend into the civilian public in the vicinity.
    2They should be in excellent communivcations contact wit the local succurity forces
    3Special snipers at elevated posions should by coordination with the survailence security staff be able to coordinate who will engage the terrorists.
    4Special care should be taken to avoid possible injuries to innocent bystanders.
    5Use should be made of stun guns and a variety of equipment which will enable security staff to temporally
    “nutralise” the attacker who could be quickly vacated by local security forces.
    6Jewish Centers should be able to be automattically locked by internal personnel having received a communication from outside security personnel.
    7Increased use should be made of cammeras recording both externally and interally potential suspicious characters
    wher possible linked up to local security services.
    8Security Service Personnel dressed in such a way to flush out potential personal attackkers who accoust Jews should be able to quickly itentify themselves as security and where necessary search them,arrest them if necessary and have them trabnsferred to police stations for further questioning and charging for offences if necessary. Everything should be done to “inconvenience”persons who carry out offences against Jews,even delaying them from freeky carryout their daly tasks can discourage futher offences.

  • Wm. J. Levy

    I’m sorry to say I’ve tried to warn the Jewish community for many years that this was coming and it came many times from the shooting deaths of Jews coming from a Chicago synagogue, the attempted car bombing in an upstate NY suburb, Jews being attacked on E. 63 rd st. in broad daylight by Arab thugs waving Hamas flags.

    Jews better take this threat seriously and organize and hire Jews to protect their properties and their lives. Rabbi Kahane, the murdered head of the ADL once said. “Every Jew a .22”. I say every Jew a .357.

    This is a war coming to our people all over the globe.

    Jews have the money but without strength its another Holocaust waiting happen to the most hated people in the world.

    WHY? Because for 2,000 years it was easy to blame and kill the Jews/

    STOP IT!!!

  • Mayven

    The diaspora M.O.T’s. live in utter fairyland…no sense of understanding the big picture.
    They regrettably will learn the hard way.and not in a nice way.
    Guess creature comforts mask the real picture…sadly.

  • Julian Clovelley

    One feature of this kind of outrage is the way that it ignores the reality that the Jewish Community is one that is so open to discussion and disagreement. In my experience most of the closed-in nature of sections of Jewish society comes from rational fear of disgraceful attack. Given a chance most Jewish people will discuss until the cows come home, and probably provide the coffee and cakes.

    It is all so grossly unfair and unreasonable. Those who have disagreements should display them in an open democratic matter by introducing them as topics for discussion. All violence does is demonstrate that irrational anger makes some people inarticulate. It is often even more damaging to the perpetrator than to his intended victim

    We need to grow out of this. Murderous attacks are beneath the dignity of any conscious being. Totally unacceptable – as unacceptable as child rape.

    Imagine a world shaped only by bullying and violence – one where sincere difference was countered by murder – one where everyone had to conform to one concept of acceptable Worldview and spirituality

    Difference is part of what makes humanity great – helps us find new paths and innovative ideas. We should embrace difference not attack it. The rubble of so much of middle eastern cities has been caused by one minority group deluding itself it holds the keys to the universe