Do We Need Another Tragedy to Secure Our Shuls?

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    WILLIAMSBURG – Video footage that emerged this morning from Williamsburg was more than a little shocking, both in the way that an unnamed suspect spent nearly a full minute checking out dozens of talleisim before attempting to steal one, and also witnessing how the shul in question was completely open to the general public.

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    Surveillance footage obtained from Khal Yetev Lev D’Satmar on Clymber Street show an unnamed man entering the shul shortly before 8:30 on the morning of November 26th.

    Dressed in a black sweatshirt, black pants and white sneakers with purple trim, the bare-headed man with the closely cropped certainly should have caught the attention of those lingering in the foyer area of the unlocked shul.


    Video shows the man surveying the cubbies, removing a tallis bag and holding it in his hands, as he paced back in forth for several seconds. Even as he seemingly weighed the bag in his hands (possibly trying to discreetly verify its contents?) members continued exiting through the shul’s unlocked doors for 30 seconds, with few even giving him a second glance.

    It was only after a white-bearded shul member confronted the outsider that things began to escalate. A scuffle ensued and as the man fled the scene, multiple shul members chased after him.

    According to Williamsburg News, the NYPD arrested the man with Shomrim’s assistance a short distance away at Driggs Avenue South and South 9th Street for stealing religious items.

    Video of the arrest shows two officers struggling to restrain the suspect, with one pulling out a Taser gun, and while the footage has no audio, the officer can clearly be seen admonishing the suspect.

    A Shomrim member who had been holding the stolen tallis bag stepping in to assist, as did another NYPD officer, and the suspect, described by sources as 45 years old, was finally placed in handcuffs.

    While of course every Jew should be welcome in every synagogue no matter how they are dressed, in this day and age, having even a simple combination lock on a door should be standard practice at every shul.

    Yes, a determined individual might be able to figure out the combination, even if written in Hebrew, but start with the small steps to keep our shuls safe, even as we ponder larger and more secure solutions.

    Today it was a simple tallis thief entering a shul.

    Tomorrow it could be someone wielding a knife or a gun.

    Hasn’t the time come for us to stop burying our heads in the sand and start taking shul security seriously?


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    104 Comments
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    Jon Merde
    Jon Merde
    2 months ago

    All it takes is a simple, “Hi can I help You?” Hard to believe that no one questioned the man.

    Lgb
    Lgb
    2 months ago

    The short answer is yes, until something really awful happens Jewish communities don’t learn

    See@gmail.com
    2 months ago

    Why doesn’t everyone of us have mace spray (a gun would be better)

    another yid
    another yid
    2 months ago

    our shul in lkwd advised everyone for awhile that shul will be locked and advised everyone of the combo

    Moishe
    Moishe
    2 months ago

    You’re trying to be politically correct but you can’t have it both ways “While of course every Jew should be welcome in every synagogue no matter how they are dressed” and then “members continued exiting through the shul’s unlocked doors for 30 seconds, with few even giving him a second glance” yeah maybe cuz everybody is welcomed.
    Just imagine the opposite if it would have really been a Jew and people would have confronted him and giving him a glance in the first 30 seconds imagine the backlash of how intolerant we are for people being dressed different than us.

    The Guardian of Forever
    The Guardian of Forever
    2 months ago

    If everyone had to show a shidduch resume to walk into a shul or beis medrash, we could lick both the security and the shidduch crises at the same time.

    Kahane was right
    Kahane was right
    2 months ago

    Every Jew a .22

    Enough
    Enough
    2 months ago

    Every Shul received fed or state monies for security and foot locks. And no
    One locks fours or closed windows after they leave. We are to fat and comfortable with it lives

    Ruby
    Ruby
    2 months ago

    I spoke to someone in the shul, he said there are many Russian home attendants that take old ppl to that shul and at first glance they yhought he was looking for his clients talis

    mee hoo ze
    mee hoo ze
    2 months ago

    He is just trying to break in to the safrus market, so he was going to check that pair of tefillin for free.

    Samuel
    Samuel
    2 months ago

    What about c-has vssholom our slerpaway camps

    Ruby
    Ruby
    2 months ago

    To be fair it was about 40 seconds before 2 people were eyeing him, it’s scary to confront a guy by yourself. A minute is not soo long And they did get him,, against a real terrorist we can’t do much…Oct 7 taught us just that,, the most sophisticated setup by top people in the field and……

    Reb yid
    Reb yid
    2 months ago

    People are walking in and out of shuls all the time. Everyone walking in has to bedavka close the door in the face of the next guy coming in, in case he doesn’t know the combination?

    shloime
    shloime
    2 months ago

    “tallis thief”?! obviously not for himself, so how much money would he get for a stolen tallis?

    Yoeli
    Yoeli
    2 months ago

    Satmar should apologize to Lipa then no harm will happen.

    Da Best
    Da Best
    2 months ago

    SET UP.
    Look Closely He purposely walks around trying to get anyone attention.
    LOOK AT ME…No one is realizing, so he tries even harder. Why did he not walk out of the Shul… SET UP

    Moshe
    Moshe
    2 months ago

    Hire the neutral karta

    Shtarker
    Active Member
    Shtarker
    2 months ago

    Probably looking for the korban pesach. (Pesachim 3b)

    Maven
    Maven
    2 months ago

    It is Mamesh beyond how the Frum institutions have zero security. Yeshivas,Shulls, girls schools, sleepaway camps etc etc non and non of them have security guards. Especially the Chasidic have nothing nothing security. Its a shame and irresponsible And is not because the money. The government gives plenty founding for security.

    Aguttenshabbos
    Aguttenshabbos
    2 months ago

    “A little shocking”?? Lol. No it’s not. The Chaddidishe velt lives in their very own universe and too much activity and comings and goings. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Until of course something happens and then for a couple of weeks, they’ll take care of business. After that? It will go back just to the way it was.

    Aguttenshabbos
    Aguttenshabbos
    2 months ago

    When they vote Democrat and those same politicians prohibit you from buying or owning a firearm to protect yourself and your loved ones. Good luck shelling out that security guard gelt. Oh well.

    R yoeli
    R yoeli
    2 months ago

    Unfortunately almost all of these types of crimes are committed by heimisha looking people which is why they’re usually successful. A combination lock would not deter access for people who look like they belong. Small cubbies with locks would help.

    Dovid
    Dovid
    2 months ago

    On our shul I. Lakewood we have the doors locked these days with people inside with guns. We need to do basic hishtadlus per the times we are in

    Bin
    Bin
    2 months ago

    He wanted to convert.