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'What does it mean to be Jewish in America?': Colorado Springs Rabbi reflects on Texas hostage-taker

Temple Shalom works with law enforcement to protect members
Temple Shalom is one of several Orthodox Synagogues in Colorado Springs
Posted at 12:30 AM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 08:35:38-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — When Temple Shalom's Rabbi, Jay Sherwood, heard four people were taken hostage in a synagogue in Texas, he was scared but not surprised.

"I didn't want to hear this story again, because I'm tired of hearing this story."

Sherwood says his Temple takes their own precautions, going through training with law enforcement and arming certain members.

"What does it mean to be Jewish in America today? It means that to pray in your synagogue, in almost every synagogue in America now you need to walk past an armed guard who is protecting the building."

Arielle Umansky and Dafna Williams are leaders at Colorado College's Hillel, an international program for Jewish communities on campuses.

"Sometimes I'm like in the library and I randomly like, look towards my exits and I'm like - OK, If there was a school shooter, that's where I would go... I think I feel similarly about, like how I am in Jewish spaces," said Umansky.

On Tuesday evening, state leaders met virtually to address antisemitism after the event in Texas over the weekend.

"We have to recognize the dark times that we are facing in this nation. It can be said that antisemitism, and hate more generally, is a leading sign of a toxicity that is a threat to our Democratic Republic," said Attorney General Phil Weiser.