Nashville synagogues spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on security

Posted at 10:42 PM, Jan 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-03 23:59:00-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After a string of violent, anti-Semitic attacks in New York, leaders in the mid-state's Jewish community are focusing on safety at the area's synagogues.

Since Dec. 23, there have been more than a dozen attacks on Jewish People in New York City. That includes an incident where police say a man stabbed five people at a Hanukkah celebration.

"To me, it was like a punch in the gut," said Eric Stillman, the Executive Director for the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. "This is happening in multiple cities, in multiple states. Absolutely, it does increase our level of concern."

He said security measures in Nashville synagogues and community centers have been a focus for years.

"What people will find is that the security that is appropriate for our set of circumstances, the presence of armed security is visible in some cases," Stillman said. Those efforts come with a hefty price tag as well.

"This past year, $200,000 and this coming year another $200,000 to help keep our synagogues and our communities safe," Stillman said. "Frankly, this is seen as the new normal."