Some North Shore synagogues take extra security measures

Some North Shore synagogues are beefing up security measures following an increase in anti-Semitic incidents and threats in the Chicago area and nationwide.The steps range from creating emergency response plans to hiring guards and locking outside doors....

Some North Shore synagogues take extra security measures

Some North Shore synagogues are beefing up security measures following an increase in anti-Semitic incidents and threats in the Chicago area and nationwide.

The steps range from creating emergency response plans to hiring guards and locking outside doors.

"I think congregants are nervous as to what is happening across the country, but we have not had any threats," said Elly Bauman, executive director of Wilmette's Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah, where laminated emergency procedures are being posted in each classroom and office. "However, we believe it was appropriate to add to our security."

A Jewish cemetery was vandalized near St. Louis this week, and a downtown Chicago synagogue was also vandalized in early February. Bomb threats have been made against a number of Jewish Community Centers nationwide, including one in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood on Monday.

"As these waves of bomb threats have been affecting the nation, we have sent out security alerts with our resources for these institutions and we are available to do briefings regarding best practices for Jewish communal institutions," Jessica Gall, associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Chicago, said Friday. "We keep in steady contact and let them know what the current best practices are."

Beth Hillel announced to congregants in a Feb. 10 email that armed security guards will monitor the grounds on weekends. Beth Hillel's school will conduct lock down drills and fire drills, and outside doors will remain closed and locked, with visitors being buzzed in.

Jewish Community Centers back open after new round of bomb threats Tribune staff with news services

At least 10 Jewish Community Centers across the country, including one in Chicago, were the target of bomb threats Monday, according to officials.

A threat to a facility in the 5200 block of South Hyde Park Boulevard about 10:10 a.m. Monday brought police to the scene, but officers and staff found...

At least 10 Jewish Community Centers across the country, including one in Chicago, were the target of bomb threats Monday, according to officials.

A threat to a facility in the 5200 block of South Hyde Park Boulevard about 10:10 a.m. Monday brought police to the scene, but officers and staff found...

(Tribune staff with news services)

"Our office works very closely with the Wilmette Police department, who monitor situations and inform us of any threats in the Chicago area," the email said. "Additionally, they drive by the synagogue on a regular basis."

Glencoe's North Shore Congregation Israel announced additional safety measures on Thursday, including an upgrade to its security hardware. In a weekly emailed newsletter, the synagogue said it will make changes to access procedures to the building, and urged congregants to notify staff if they see something or someone suspicious.

In addition, the newsletter said that a Highland Park police officer with a background in emergency management is training the synagogue's staff, clergy, educators, volunteers and board members.

In a statement released Friday, NSCI said it regularly reviews and updates its security practices.

"In light of the increase in anti-Semitic events over the past months, our recent communications serve to inform our congregants of our long-standing efforts to promote safety and remind them of their role in the process by being vigilant and watchful," it said.

Police release video of suspect in hate-crime vandalism at synagogue in the Loop Deanese Williams-Harris

Police on Saturday afternoon released video of a person wanted in an incident in which a window was broken out and swastika stickers were placed on the front door of a synagogue in Chicago's Loop neighborhood.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m. Saturday, officers responded to the synagogue in the first...

Police on Saturday afternoon released video of a person wanted in an incident in which a window was broken out and swastika stickers were placed on the front door of a synagogue in Chicago's Loop neighborhood.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m. Saturday, officers responded to the synagogue in the first...

(Deanese Williams-Harris)

Meanwhile, at Highland Park's Lakeside Congregation, executive director Rick Schuster said no changes have been made.

"We have not deemed it necessary at this point, but we have met with staff to review the procedures that we have in place," Schuster said. "These are frightening times."

Daniel I. Dorfman is a freelancer for Pioneer Press.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.

RELATED NEWS