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Fort Myers synagogue rethinks security after Pittsburgh shooting

Posted: 2:49 AM, Oct 28, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-28 06:51:37Z

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A Southwest Florida synagogue leader reconsiders security after learning about the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh, PA., Saturday. 

“I was heartbroken. This is the nightmare of every Jewish congregation, and unfortunately it is too familiar in our Jewish history,” said Rabbi Nicole Luna of Temple Beth El in Fort Myers.

She heard about the the shooting right after leading a Bat Mitzvah ceremony.

“I immediately thought of al the people who had come into the sanctuary to pray, to reach out to God, to be together in community. The same thing my congregation was doing just this morning,” she said.

Luna said she will pray for the people killed and those injured in the shooting during the temple’s worship service next Friday. She said she also has her congregation’s safety in mind.

“We do have a security task force. And security has increased within the past few years. And unfortunately this is the reason why,” said Luna.

The temple already has some safety measures in place. But after the shooting, Rabbi Luna is considering more ways to keep her congregation safe.

“Yes, we are definitely going to be taking steps to make sure that every congregant is safe and can worship in peace,” she said.

The temple has security cameras at the entrance and doors are locked when there’s no service. Luna said they’ll boost security, but for everyone’s protection, could not give specific details.

She encourages the Jewish community to remain strong in their faith.

“[In Hebrew] We also say, ‘The people of Israel live.’ And we will continue being proud to be Jewish. We will continue gathering together in sacred community. And we will continue worshipping God together,” she said.

Luna said Temple Beth El will host a interfaith vigil remembering the victims of the mass shooting Monday at 6:00pm.