There will be increased police patrols around synagogues and temples throughout Nassau County for the Jewish High Holy Days, according to Police Commissioner Thomas Dale.
“There have been no threats in Nassau County,” Dale said at a press conference on Tuesday at Young Israel of Woodmere. “However, we do intend to increase patrols for both uniform and plain-clothed officers at schools and religious institutions.”
Despite the absence of terrorist threats, County Executive Ed Mangano said it is up to congregants at area temples and synagogues to alert the police about any suspicious activity during Rosh Hashana, Sept. 4 to 6, and Yom Kippur, Sept. 13 and 14. “Congregants know best what belongs in and around their synagogues,” Mangano said, “so if you see an unattended package around, please call 911.”
The county is also using the “See something, say something” initiative to raise awareness of potential dangers and to protect residents and communities. “Our ‘See something, say something’ posters will be hung throughout high-traffic areas in the county,” Mangano said.
After the Boston Marathon bombings in April, he explained, the county directed more efforts to enhancing security at public gatherings. This year, the Jewish holidays fall amid rising tensions in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. “We will be extra vigilant this year, as we are every year,” Mangano said. “Our goal is to combat racism and inequalities, and rid the county and everywhere of bigotry and discrimination.”
Rabbi Andrew Warmflash, of the Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Centre, said there is heightened awareness during the High Holy Days. “It’s certainly a concern of ours, as everyone knows you get large groups of Jewish people coming together for the holidays, so it might make an appealing target for someone who doesn’t like Jews,” Warmflash said. “Most synagogues take important security precautions, but they’re fairly routine. Part of what we want to do on the holidays is create as warm and welcoming an atmosphere as we can, and we try to make security as non-intrusive as we can.”