NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Synagogues across Connecticut are taking extra precautions ahead of their weekend services after the recent Hamas attack in Israel.
The precautions are coming during a time when many rely on their faith for strength and unification.
“[We] want everybody to know they are safe here,” said Rabbi Jeffrey Bennett, of Temple Sinai.
Temple Sinai in Newington is reviewing security ahead of an expected busy weekend. Bennett said he expects a lot of people will come together to pray.
“Of course, I’m concerned and I guess there are always risks, but I think it’s so important we come together,” Bennett said.
Temple Sinai has undergone extensive security upgrades in recent years, including external and internal cameras and enhanced door and window locks. The temple also has a security guard during religious school sessions and services.
This week, Bennett said he called Newington police to be in close communication.
Bennett also shared that a few years ago, he had to make this same call when the pandemic forced their service online and hate joined their Zoom services.
“Somebody drew a swastika on the screen at a very, very poignant time in the service when we were saying the prayer for our relatives who are no longer with us, called the Kaddish Prayer, and it was very disturbing,” Bennett said.
In New Haven, FBI Special Agent Robert Fuller said the agency is monitoring potential threats made to residents and religious communities.
“We are aware of recent online social media threats nationwide resulting from the situation unfolding in Israel,” Fuller said. “We need everyone in our great state to know that as of today there have been no credible threats here in Connecticut.”
Bennett said it’s important to come together.
“We are all hurting,” Bennett said. “This has been a very, very difficult week and coming together is really so comforting and helpful and to console each other.”
Bennett said services will be held both in-person and on Zoom.
The White House said that 27 Americans have been killed as a result of the violence, and 14 are unaccounted for. It’s estimated that Hamas’ attacks have killed 1,300 people in Israel, and that Israeli’s retaliatory attacks on Gaza have killed 1,500.