Ramping up security: Local synagogue discusses possibly arming congregation

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After the recent Pittsburgh shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, many congregations are now questioning their safety.

The B'Nai Sholom Congregation in Blountville, Tennessee is considering changing their security measures after this horrible hate crime.

"You would never imagine this happening in Squirrel Hill, so any place could be a potential target," says Rabbi Arthur Rutberg.

When asked if his temple could be a potential target, Rutberg says, "Absolutely. Of course."

The attack is one of the deadliest against the Jewish community in the United States.

Since the attack, temples across the country are ramping up security.

Although Rabbi Rutberg is against arming worshipers, the idea isn't out of the equation.

"Honestly I don't believe that would make much of a difference. I don't think it will be much of a deterrent and I'm not a big fan of having weapons in the sanctuary. But obviously if that is what we decide to do, that's what we decide," says Rabbi Rutberg.

Virginia state law prohibits carrying weapons to a place of worship.

However, in Tennessee it's legal to carry a firearm into church unless instructed otherwise by the congregation.

Former president of the B'Nai Sholom Congregation, Nancy Fischman is calling for stricter gun laws.

"I think it's a fact of life that we have to deal with that. We just can't feel safe in our public schools or in our places of worship. It’s really sad," says Fischman.

"You can say I'm more ambivalent now having members of the congregation to carry weapons in here in case of an attack," says Rabbi Rutberg.

On November 18th the congregation will meet to discuss ways to keep the temple safe moving forward.

The names of the 11 victims are below:

-Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland, City of Pittsburgh

-Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township

-Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

-Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood Borough

-Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

-David Rosenthal, 54, (brother of Cecil), of Squirrel Hill

-Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg

-Sylvan Simon, 86, (husband of Bernice), of Wilkinsburg

-Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

-Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill, City of Pittsburgh

-Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington, City of Pittsburgh

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