Synagogues are security aware for Yom Kippur services


At sundown begins the holiest day in the Jewish religion, Yom Kippur.

NewsChannel 6 went to all three synagogues in Augusta and found they are keeping a close eye on security.

Yom Kippur is a day of atonement. A day where the Jewish people forgive themselves and self reflect. Although it is a day of forgiveness, they still have to be aware of the world around them.

“Look what’s going on in the world, it’s a matter of being safe, and being concerned, being vigilant, being ready,” says David Alalof. He is a member of the Congregation Children of Israel. He is also the security department head.

“Somebody had to do it, and I guess I was chosen,” he says.

A phrase that sounds casual, but after recent events, his rabbi says it’s important.

Rabbi Shai Beloosesky with the Congregation Children of Israel says, “now we carry with us from last year the event in Pittsburgh, and it’s terrible, and we cannot let it happen again.”

11 people were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Never knowing what could happen, Alalof says he has a trained team and an armed security.

“Where are you sitting? Do you know where your nearest exit is? Do you have a plan in your mind God forbid we had to ask everybody to evacuate immediately? We don’t want you to stop and think, we just want you to go, because time is precious,” says Alalof.

The synagogues in town teamed up with each other and provided classes for their congregations so members are just as ready.

Rabbi David Sirull with Adas Yeshurun Synagogue says, “one of them was not just for our members, but we also had a House of Worship security seminar where Richmond County came, and we had officers speak to pastors and security teams from churches all over the area.”

Rabbi Zalman Fisher with Chabad of Augusta says anti-semitism is something Jewish people are not estranged to. He says it’s all in the reaction.

“If you allow the haters and the anti-Semites to influence how you behave and react with regards to your Jewish identity and your Judaism, then essentially you’ve allowed them to win,” says Rabbi Fisher.

NewsChannel 6 reporter, Jenna Kelley, asked Alalof, “what does this say to you about society today?”

“Disappointing. Very disappointing,” he answered.

The holiday begins tonight at sundown and ends tomorrow at sundown.

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