WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA) — At a time of celebration, many have their minds on security.
Sunday marked the start of the Jewish high holidays — the 10-day period when Jewish communities will gather at synagogues and temples and homes for prayer and meals and history and religion.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown this evening. Yom Kippur, starts the following Tuesday — a day of atonement and solemnity. The holidays couldn’t be more different — the new year marking renewal and amazing food. Yom Kippur the period of fasting, prayer, repentance.
But this year, the days will have something in common. Concern.
Across the San Fernando Valley, community leaders are looking to remember the importance of the days without letting a recent series of world events — a rise in anti-Semitic attacks and renewed white supremacy and white nationalist movements — derail the celebration and the history.
And, of course, with attention placed on the holidays — with a backdrop of increasing hate here and abroad — security and safety are on a lot of people’s minds.
There were armed security guards and metal detectors visible at Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills in what has become a sign of the times.
There tonight, they ushered in the new year with song, prayer and well wishes.
The rabbi told her that they beefed up security outside so that people worshiping inside could do so without fear.
“We take security very seriously here,” said Rabbi Jon Honish, “I’m sure as every temple does. And we do have security here. But we feel that it’s a safe environment to come to.”
Congregants are well aware of deadly attacks in synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway.
The synagogue didn’t want to go into total detail about what they have done but one rabbi said he just wanted the community to be able to come to their place of worship “without worry.”
Congregant Cory Garson echoed that sentiment: “It’s celebration. Time to break bread, say traditional prayers, hear traditional melodies that you don’t hear the rest of the year.”
It’s also a time for introspection and time to take stock. The ten days are vitally important to those who observe.
Rabbi Honish says, “The ten days when Jews reflect on what they have done over the past year and how they are going to improve over the next year.”