From Ohav's President, Judy AVner, Securing Our SynagogueUPDATE
Dear Ohav Family:
As we continue to mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh and consider the implication of these horrific murders for our Jewish community, please be assured that the leadership of Ohav Shalom has been diligently and carefully considering the security implications of this act of violence. I shared initial plans last week, and I am providing a brief update.
Please know that we are always mindful of the need to strike a balance between maintaining the sanctity of our shul and the need for safety and security. We continue to work with law enforcement to determine that best course of action for our shul.
We are developing short -term and long- term options. In the short-term, we will continue to have police presence at our building during the next few Shabbatot as well as at the rummage sale on November 18. This will allow us some time to put into place a number of important steps. These will be evaluated next month.
We need your understanding and cooperation to make these steps effective.
* Codes for entry into the building have been changed this week. If you generally use a code, and have not received a new code, please call the office as soon as possible. Please do NOT give your code to anyone else-have others contact the office directly.
* Following the recommendation that we limit access to our building, beginning Sunday, November 11, the doors to the building will be locked. A code will be required for entry. We know this may pose an issue for some individuals coming to morning Minyan to say kaddish or observe a yahrtzeit. If you know in advance that you will be attending, please call the office for the code.
* We have been advised by law enforcement that having greeters should be a priority. So, we are implementing a new greeter program for the front door on Shabbat. This will include greeter training. We cannot implement this step without YOUR involvement. Please consider signing up to greet on Shabbat morning by clicking here.
* Again, please do NOT prop open any door or let in people you do not know. When you substitute your judgment for that of experienced law enforcement you risk the safety of everyone in the building.
* We also need to follow the practice limiting access to our building by using a single point of entry. Please use the “administrative entrance” (middle glass doors) during the week. Again, we know this may be inconvenient, but we have been advised that this is essential.
* Finally, look for notice of education and training programs that we will be offering to the congregation.
Please know that we recognize the various concerns of our members and all who use our building. We also have been advised not to publicize the details of every security measure we implement. Over the next few months we hope to implement a host of additional security measures to the physical structure and to our procedures. We regret that we find ourselves in this position, but we feel they are necessary to maintain a safe space in which we all can come together to worship, learn and gather.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
Judy Avner, President