Checking suspicious item in UK airport
Photo: Reuters
Scans in Philadelphia International Airport
Photo: AFP

US synagogues on alert; Shabbat services unchanged

Jewish community centers across United States ordered to take extra precaution even before President Obama confirmed suspicious parcels contained explosives, bound for Chicago Jewish facilities. Rabbis stress Shabbat services will go on as usual

WASHINGTON - US synagogues and Jewish facilities were ordered to be extra cautious and thoroughly check any items received by mail following the discovery of explosives in Britian and Dubai which were bound for Jewish facilities in Chicago. Nevertheless, some Chicago rabbis announced that Shabbat services would go on as usual.


Chicago police said it beefed up security around all the city's synagogues. Also, US security sources said they ruled out the possibility that the parcels containing the explosives were bound for a synagogue near US President Barack Obama's house in the city.


The warning was given before Obama confirmed the packages contained explosives. Earlier, US media reported that the explosives were bound for a synagogue and a Jewish community center in Chicago, information confirmed by Obama Friday.


Michael Kotzin, vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, told Ynet Friday that synagogues and other locations associated with Judaism were asked to check their mail with additional care even before the bomb threat surfaced.


Kotzin said the first warning came regarding packages originating in Yemen, and later came warnings regarding Saudi Arabia and additional countries.

Searching airplane in New Jersey's Newark Airport (Photo: Reuters)


Rabbi Michael Balinsky, executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, said that he anticipates Shabbat services be held as usual.


The Chicago Tribune reported that Rabbi Michael Siegel of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Lakeview said the congregation will not accept UPS packages until "we know the danger has passed."


He added that since the September 11 attacks synagogues have enhanced their security means and are also receiving help from off-duty police officers to guard entrances to Jewish facilities.


Ortal Alon Finklestein, who resides in Chicago told Ynet that life goes on as usual in the city. "My mother-in-law called me earlier and told me of the news. It was a bit frightening, there's a synagogue near our house and we go there sometimes, mainly on Saturdays and holidays. There's also a Jewish school nearby, but overall I feel safe. I don't feel an immediate threat."


Ronen Medzini contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 10.30.10, 09:01
 new comment
This will delete your current comment