(January 19, 2022 / JNS) Anyone who has spent any time in Europe will have become familiar with two types of synagogues
1. Highly decorative museum pieces that are largely used for tours.
2. Anonymous block fortresses with heavy security, no signage and no windows, that are built to survive a siege.
American synagogues are starting to go that route, and I watched it happen. The tragedy is just how much of that is a recent phenomenon.
I can recall the fairly recent transition from casual places of worship to layers of security. Security guards and fortified entrances used to be something you encountered in Europe, now it’s becoming frighteningly commonplace in America. Earpieces and guards toting serious weaponry and bulletproof vests are not hard to find anymore. Never mind congregants coming armed and being prepared for the worst.
Synagogues have come under armed attack from Muslim terrorists and white supremacists. There have been multiple shooting incidents, bomb plots and assaults at various Jewish centers.
And that’s the outcome.
Like the securitization of a lot of the country, the process took off after 9/11, but it followed its own parallel track. Bomb threats and attacks in an area tend to lead to a wave of security upscaling. In some locales, like New York City, the police do a lot of the heavy lifting, in others, the synagogues tend to be on their own. Like the United Kingdom and France, American synagogues have seen a rise in community security alliances.
The left, rather than addressing the reality, has followed its familiar pattern of concern-trolling Jews for being forced into this situation. The latest excuse is that having security guards intimidates minority groups who might want to attend the synagogue.
Never mind what having to turn synagogues into fortresses, and the root cause of that, is doing to the Jewish community.
A generation ago American Jews, for better or worse, did not live as if they were perpetually under siege. They do now. And it’s a sign of the Europeanization of America.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
This article was first published by FrontPage Magazine.
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