Jewish communities across the United States have increased security for Jewish schools, synagogues and other Jewish institutes in the wake of the anti-Semitic shootings at two Jewish centers in Overland Park, which claimed the lives of three people.
The shooter, Frazier Glenn Miller, 73, is a white supremacist, a neo-Nazi and a former Ku Klux Klan leader, which has been on the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) radar for some 30 years.
While authorities believe Miller was a lone wolf who acted alone and that the shootings were isolated, American Jewish communities far outside the borders of the state of Kansas, where the shootings occurred, have decided to take no risks during the coming week of Passover festivities.
Seder at Village Shalom retirement community (photo: AP)
The Jewish Community Centers of North America (JCC Association) was flooded with calls from Jewish community leaders from across the country shortly after the shootings on Sunday, asking for details about the incident, instructions on how to respond, and ways to prevent similar attacks in their centers.
"When something happens at an individual JCC, it impacts all of us," Allan Finkelstein, executive officer of the JCC Association, told USA Today.
Jewish community centers in cities like Washington, DC, New York City, San Francisco, Phoenix, Portland, Hartford and elsewhere have been consulting with local law enforcement, the FBI and Homeland Security on how to ensure their members' safety.
More than 400 senior Jewish leaders held a conference call with representatives from Homeland Security and the FBI on Monday to discuss their security concerns, according to USA Today.
Community leaders have requested more police patrols and urged members to be more vigilant in reporting suspicious activities.
"We have received no information regarding any specific additional threats to our JCC or other Jewish institutions. Nevertheless, yesterday's violence should once again be a reminder of the importance of being vigilant about security," the Mandell Jewish Community in Hartford's executive director, David Jacobs, told community members in an e-mail on Monday.
"We don't believe there is any heightened risk for the Jewish community here, however, just to be prudent we have begun communicating with all the Jewish organizations as well as the Scottsdale Police and Phoenix Police to increase patrols and increased other security protocols," Stewart Wachs from the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center told the local Fox affiliate.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also worked to put the minds of the Jewish community in the city at ease.
"The NYPD is taking all steps to ensure the safety and security of Jewish individuals and institutions as Passover is being ushered in," he wrote in a statement on Sunday.
But despite concern and enhanced security, none of the Passover festivities have been affected.
"You can't back away every time something happens. That's what people like this man want to happen," Finkelstein told USA Today. "Passover is the festival of freedom. We sit at our Seder, which we will tonight, and talk about the Jews being free and in this case coming out of Egypt. When you have a situation like this, which certainly challenges the whole idea of freedom, it just makes you even more appreciative of what you have."