Thursday, January 21st | 8 Shevat 5781

November 21, 2019 10:35 am

House Amendment Passes to Boost Security at Synagogues, Other Houses of Worship

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The Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a mass shooting took place during Shabbat services on Oct. 27. Photo: Google Maps screenshot. – An amendment to enhance security at synagogues and other houses of worship was added to a bill that passed the US House of Representatives on Tuesday to reauthorize the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act for seven years.

The tally of the bill was 385-22.

“We have all watched in horror as more and more houses of worship have become targets for white supremacists, white nationalists and antisemites,” said Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), who introduced the amendment. “From Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, to the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, these attacks have taken the lives and injured countless individuals from a variety of faith communities.”

The AME Church shooting in 2015 took the lives of nine African-Americans during a Bible study, while 11 Jewish worshippers were killed in the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue, which was the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history. 

“Beyond the horrific losses of life, there is also an economic toll, as devastated congregations are left to pick up the pieces and rebuild,” said Beatty. “My amendment will enhance security and improve recovery efforts for places of worship—because the last thing they should worry about is whether they have the insurance backstop to rebuild and continue their important work.”

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