Texas Rabbi Says Security Training Helped Save Lives

Tuesday, January 18th 2022, 5:49 pm

The Rabbi from Beth Israel Synagogue in Texas said security training from a nonprofit saved their lives during a hostage standoff.

Two Tulsa synagogues also went through years of security training.

The synagogues worked to make sure they will be prepared for any number of threats.

"To see a community in prayer under attack, someone who does the same work that I do dealing with what feels like an unimaginable situation," said Rabbi Dan Kaiman, with The Synagogue Congregation B'nai Emunah.

On January 15, a man walked into Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas and took 4 people hostage.

Those hostages spent hours alone with the gunman until they found opportunities to escape.

"Training, as you found out from the incident on Saturday, makes the world of difference," said Executive Director Klara Bode, with Temple Israel.

These are situations synagogues across the country have been preparing for, regularly, for years.

"All kinds of training for tornadoes, for active shooters, for heart attacks," said Bode.

A Beth Israel Rabbi said training with the Secure Community Network saved his life.

The same non-profit, working exclusively to promote safety and security for the American Jewish community, has worked with Tulsa synagogues.

"We are always looking at the ways we can be a safe and secure facility and a safe and secure community. At the same time, we also want to balance that with how to be an open, warm and hospitable environment. It is not lost on me that when the hostage taker entered the synagogue in Texas this weekend, the Rabbi offered him a cup of tea," said Kaiman.

The Secure Community Network isn't the only training local synagogues are using.

They also partner with local and federal law enforcement as well as Jewish organizations across the country.

"There are all kinds of threats and if you let them get to you, you wouldn't be living a full life," said Bode, "We will continue on. Tulsa is a wonderful community and I see that all faiths get together when there is any kind of a threat to any one of us. Not just faiths but races, we are all here for one another."