It was an­other shul — and our shul

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DAVID DELEW

AS NEWS emerged of the hor­ren­dous at­tack in Pitts­burgh, my heart broke and my thoughts im­me­di­ately rushed to those who had lost their lives. I tried to grasp the dread­ful sit­u­a­tion that their fam­ily, friends and com­mu­nity had sud­denly been thrown into. And I knew, yet again, why CST does its work across all of our UK Jewish com­mu­ni­ties.

About 48 hours later I found my­self rep­re­sent­ing the vol­un­teers, staff and trustees of CST at the com­mem­o­ra­tive vigil, held in the JW3 com­mu­nity cen­tre. I thanked the other speak­ers for their very kind words about CST, but stressed my hope that we could one day live in a world with­out CST. A world in which CST’s vol­un­teers would not have to risk their lives in pro­tec­tion of our com­mu­nity.

Sad to say, I doubt any of us can re­al­is­ti­cally imag­ine such a world. The state of our pol­i­tics seems to keep get­ting worse, the lev­els of ha­tred keep ris­ing, and the po­lice and se­cu­rity ser­vices say they have never made so many coun­tert­er­ror ar­rests and in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

When I read about the Pitts­burgh neo-Nazi say­ing all Jews must be killed, I im­me­di­ately re­called the Bri­tish neo-Nazi who was con­victed in court this July. In his case, he specif­i­cally re­ferred to Jewish chil­dren in our shuls as “ver­min”. The day after Pitts­burgh, I was phoned and told about an in­ci­dent that had just oc­curred in north Lon­don, in which a man was walk­ing down the street yelling that he would kill all the Jews.

These ex­am­ples are not even the tip of the ice­berg, but they show why CST has to take se­cu­rity so se­ri­ously.

It is also why we need ev­ery mem­ber of our com­mu­nity to play their part. If you see some­thing sus­pi­cious, you have to re­port it. If you find your­self caught in a worst-case sce­nario, you have to re­spond quickly and hide or flee.

I want to con­clude by cit­ing the re­mark­able speech made by a mem­ber of the Pitts­burgh Jewish Com­mu­nity at the JW3 vigil event. She cur­rently lives in Lon­don and ever since the at­tack, keeps be­ing asked “was that your shul?” Her re­ply is strik­ing. It is sim­ply, “that was ev­ery­body’s shul”. As it hap­pens, yes, it was her shul, where she had her bat­mitz­vah in the heart of a thriv­ing com­mu­nity: but it was in­deed, all of our shuls.

If you see any­thing sus­pi­cious, re­port it

David Delew is CST chief ex­ec­u­tive

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