In the wake of the recent wave of deadly terror attacks in Israel, the World Organization of Orthodox Communities and Synagogues on Wednesday called for congregations to take precautions against possible attacks. Among its recommendations: Worshippers should arrive at services armed, and a cellular phone should be left on in the building during Shabbat services.

In guidelines issued on Wednesday, the organization called on gabbais—who assist in running synagogues—community leaders and worshippers to remain vigilant, and for those licensed to do so to carry weapons with them, including on Shabbat.

“The synagogue gabbai must ensure a first-aid kit is permanently stationed at the synagogue. Likewise, community heads must locate the professionals trained to provide first aid so that they are on alert and able to handle the provision of care to victims when necessary. They must ensure the synagogue has organized emergency exits and inform worshippers of the exit route and how to escape in an emergency,” the organization said.

“These guidelines are the endeavors we are committed to in accordance with halachah [‘Jewish law’] and together with prayers to our Father in Heaven. We call on synagogues to petition in prayers and supplications to the Holy One, Blessed is He, to say enough to our troubles. We call for proliferation in Torah study and the reading of psalms for the sake of the souls of the victims and the healing of the wounded. Additionally, there should be prayers for the welfare of IDF soldiers and members of the security forces who are on the frontlines for all of Israel’s citizens,” the organization said.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.


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