Local Jewish community reacts to Texas hostage situation

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 7:16 PM CST
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Saturday, a hostage situation took place at a synagogue outside of Ft. Worth, Texas, with the FBI declaring it a ‘terrorism-related’ incident. Those in the Jewish community in the Heart of Illinois say they were horrified, but not surprised.

The Jewish community makes up only 2% of the American population, but 58% of hate crimes are committed against them. That’s as the Anti-Defamation League says attacks on Jewish people are on the rise. For Susan Katz, the Director of the Jewish Federation of Peoria, what can be done about it is a constant topic of conversation:

“We look around, and when something like that happens, it’s horrible,” she says, “and the first thought that goes through any of our minds is that could be us, it could happen anywhere.”

Katz adds we need to stay aware of what we say and the impact of words, which can later lead to actions.

A national network provides guidance for synagogues and temples on how to deal with situations like these, updating procedures after this most recent incident. The Federation also works with local synagogues to maintain and update safety practices.

“We’re just thankful that the rabbi and the hostages got out safely,” Katz says while addressing the situation in Ft. Worth, “that there was no loss of life and no bloodshed. That was huge.”

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