The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish synagogue organization, is shocked and outraged by the car bombings that took place on Shabbat in front of the Congregations Beth Israel and Neve Shalom in Istanbul, Turkey. This vicious act of terrorism targeted innocent people who were at Shabbat prayers and claimed twenty-three lives and injured over three hundred. Once again, terrorists have proved that they will stop at nothing, including murdering innocent civilians in houses of worship, in order to further their nefarious mission. Our hearts and prayers go out to all who were lost or injured in the attack. May their families be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
While at this time officials report that they know of no specific threats directed towards the Jewish community or Jewish targets in the United States, we nevertheless reiterate our warnings for the need for increased vigilance at synagogues and Jewish schools, organizations, and institutions. Synagogues should increase their vigilance and surveillance. Any unusual incidents should be reported immediately to the police. Try to obtain a physical description of the suspicious individual, license numbers, and any other identifying characteristics. A disposable camera should be on hand to for valuable photographs of suspicious individuals. Synagogues should be in touch with their local police departments and inform them of the schedule of services that they can provide more security visibility. Synagogues leaders should ask congregants not to gather outside the building during or after services.