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Thursday, April 17, 2014 | return to: news & features, local


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Bay Area reacts to K.C. shootings with sympathy, stepped-up security

by dan pine

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See below for six statements issued by Bay Area Jewish agencies

At the April 14 seder held at the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay in Berkeley, a police car sat parked out front. It served as a reminder that this Passover, Jews are on alert following the fatal shootings the day before in a Kansas City suburb.

The crime in Overland Park, Kan., on April 13 reverberated across the Jewish world, including Bay Area Jewish institutions.

It also reinforced calls for tightened security at this time of year.

“We work in collaboration with the Berkeley and Oakland police departments,” said Sally Kauffman Flinchbaugh, executive director of the JCC of the East Bay, which has locations in both of those cities. “They stepped up our patrols to keep an eye on things. People were happy we had extra security guards. Everyone is on high alert.”

The JCC of the East Bay’s five seders went off without a hitch, Kauffman Flinchbaugh noted.

“The best security is the security you don’t talk about,” noted Jim Offel, acting CEO of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. “We immediately reached out to synagogues and Jewish organizations around the Bay Area, and let people know were we’re monitoring the situation, and to be extra vigilant.”

Offel noted that federation leaders had met with local law enforcement and Homeland Security officials in the weeks leading up to Passover.

“We continually remind our community that it’s important to be vigilant, to have those relationships, and to review your security plans,” he added.

In a new Web page set up in the wake of the Overland Park shootings, the Anti-Defamation League urges Jewish institutions to notify local law enforcement about upcoming Jewish activities, including holiday events, to establish procedures for controlling facilities.

Seth Brysk, the S.F.-based director of the ADL’s Central Pacific region, told J. that his office received no indications of specific threats to any Bay Area Jewish institutions.

Allan Lavigne, the Bay Area director of security for the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council, noted in an April 15 email that “there are no known threats to the immediate Bay Area or institutions.”

He added: “Given current world events and overseas threats to the homeland in general, we continue to urge all institutions to exercise extreme caution in the weeks and months ahead. Please be certain to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately.”

In the hours after the shootings in Kansas, many Bay Area Jewish agencies, including several JCCs, issued statements to their members and the community.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the Kansas City community,” said a joint statement from four Jewish agencies in Silicon Valley: the Addison-Penzak JCC, the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, Jewish Family Services and Yavneh Day School. “The suspected shooter is in police custody and we have no reason to believe that there is any imminent danger in our area.”

Abby Michelson Porth, the associate executive director of the S.F.-based JCRC, said that historically, Passover has been a time of increased incidence of attacks on Jews.

However, immediately after the Kansas shootings, the JCRC was inundated with messages of support and sympathy from various faith communities, including local Muslim, Hindu, Christian and interfaith leaders.

“It’s an important symbol of friendship that the community extends itself to other faith communities when they are targeted, and it in turn is extended to us when we feel fearful,” Porth said. “It’s a reminder that [anti-Semitic] incidents are small in number and don’t compare to the overwhelming support, mutual understanding and friendship that emanates from other faith and ethnic communities towards ours.”

STATEMENT FROM
Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center,
Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley,
Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley,
and Yavneh Day School

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Kansas City community, which sustained a horrific loss today at the Kansas City JCC and the Village Shalom assisted living facility.

The suspected shooter is in police custody and we have no reason to believe that there is any imminent danger in our area. We are in direct contact with local law enforcement and are taking precautions to secure our facility to the best of our ability. At this time of year, when we are preparing to celebrate holidays of redemption and renewal, we are reminded that we cannot take these moments for granted. 

With sympathy and in solidarity with Kansas City,

Avery Kaufman, President and Nate Stein, CEO of Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center
Jeff Kanel, President and Jyl Jurman, CEO, Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley
Robin Sabes, President and Mindy Berkowitz, Executive Director of Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley
Arnnon Geshuri, President and Steve Bogad, Head of School, Yavneh Day School

 

STATEMENT FROM
Jewish Community Center of the East Bay

Dear friends and members of the JCC East Bay community, 

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Kansas City community, which sustained a horrific loss today at the Kansas City JCC and the Village Shalom assisted living facility.

The suspected shooter is in police custody and we have no reason to believe that there is any imminent danger in our area. We are in direct contact with local law enforcement and are taking precautions to secure our facilities to the best of our ability. At this time of year, when we are preparing to celebrate holidays of redemption and renewal, we are reminded that we cannot take these moments for granted. 

With sympathy and in solidarity with Kansas City,

Sally Flinchbaugh 
Executive Director, JCC of the East Bay

 

STATEMENT FROM
Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, San Rafael

Dear Osher Marin JCC Community,

Our hearts are heavy with the news of the shootings that took place earlier today at the Jewish Community Campus in the Kansas City area, which resulted in fatalities and the arrest of a suspect. Our thoughts are with everyone affected and touched by the terrible tragedy, and with the broader Kansas City community.

Although the event is deeply distressing, we are advised by police that it is almost certainly an isolated incident. Nevertheless, we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our members, participants, friends, and staff. We have elevated our security presence at both of our sites and we are in close contact with the Sheriff, who has increased their monitoring. We will continue to review our security procedures as new information becomes available.

Please be assured that your safety is our highest priority. We hope that you will join us in prayers for the Kansas City community tonight and in the days ahead. At this time of spring holidays celebrating renewal and freedom, it is incumbent upon us to continue as a community that stands for dignity and respect for all. 

With sympathy,

Judy Wolff-Bolton, Executive Director
Marty Friedman, President

 

STATEMENT FROM
S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund

Dear friends,

We are horrified by yesterday's senseless act of hatred aimed at Jewish residents of Kansas City. Our hearts go out to those who have suffered a tragic loss. No community should ever fear that it could be targeted by bigoted criminals, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Jewish community of Kansas City as it is forced to confront the ugly reality of hate and anti-Semitism.

Immediately after news of the tragedy broke, our Bay Area Jewish communal security officials were alerted and in contact with local and federal law enforcement.

On this holiday of Passover, we are reminded that freedom is something for which we are always striving, including the freedom from wanton violence and racism.
In solidarity,

Jim Offel 
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund

 

STATEMENT FROM
Jewish Community Federation of the East Bay

Federation and Foundation Stand with Kansas City Jewish Community Following Tragic Shooting

Chevrei,

We at the Jewish Federation and The Jewish Community Foundation stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in Kansas City following yesterday's tragic shootings at Overland Park's Jewish Community Center and at the Village Shalom senior center. Our sympathies are with the families of the victims and the entire Kansas City Jewish community at this terrible time.

As we gather around our Seder tables tonight to recall our liberation from Egyptian bondage, let us remember all those in our world who suffer from oppression and hate, and pledge to renew our commitments to building a world in which all people are free to live their lives without the threat of terror.

On behalf of all of us at Federation and Foundation, we wish you and yours a meaningful Passover.

Chag Sama'ach,
Rabbi James Brandt
CEO, Jewish Community Federation of the East Bay


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