Elliot Ganchrow writes:
As a follow-up to my father's earlier blog, last week's terrorist attack in India is a reminder of the ease in which terrorists can attack and wreak havoc at 'soft' targets. The Chabad House in Mumbai was likely similar to numerous other Jewish schools, shuls and organizational organizations (with a few exceptions) across the world which are left unguarded or are provided minimal security. When I visited my brother-in-law two years ago for Shabbos in Efrat, I was struck by the extraordinary level of security that was both outside and inside the shul. A young man stood outside the shul with an automatic weapon and was at all times attentive to possible threats, while inside the shul numerous people were armed with guns. In other shuls in Israel, it is not uncommon to find soldiers or civilians armed and ready in case of emergency. When I was in Yeshiva in Israel, an emergency situation in a nearby town broke out. Within seconds, dozens of Israeli students were armed and ready to defend the Yeshiva. But what is the situation in our country? My in-laws daven at the Young Israel of Woodmere, which is the largest Orthodox shul in this country. When we visit for Rosh Hashana and daven with them, I am always taken aback by their disregard for security. They post one unarmed man in the front of the building and another on the other side of the building. Their is also an auxillary police car in the parking lot which I am sure puts fear in the hearts of would-be attackers. However, this a familiar scene in most shuls (and schools) in this country- Security is either non-existent or is provided by one unarmed individual or an auxillary policeman (although I was happy to see a fully armed policeman at the Roemer shul in Teaneck this past Shabbos). If we learn anything from the terrible tragedy of this past week, it is that each shul or school is a potential soft target and therefore should develop real plans to defend itself in case of an emergency. If the Chabad House in Mumbai can be attacked, so can shuls, schools and Jewish Centers in this country.