Forever Lebanon Valley

Lebanon Jewish Leader Responds to Attack at Texas Synagogue

Rabbi Samuel Yolen, leader of Congregation Beth Israel in Lebanon (photo from Facebook).

The shock waves from this past weekend’s standoff at a Texas synagogue is still being felt by Jews across the country, including here in Lebanon County.

Four people were held at gunpoint by a deranged British Muslim seeking the release of a female Pakistani terrorist from a nearby federal prison for over eleven hours.

Ironically, the Texas synagogue shares the same nme – Congregation Beth Israel – as Lebanon’s synagogue on South 8th Street.

Rabbi Samuel Yolen tells the Lebanon Valley Daily News that Saturday’s standoff remains very raw to many Jews and requires much more research and inquiry:

This is just the latest attack on American Jews, others include the 2018 Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, the 2019 attack at a synagogue in Poway, California and a 2019 shooting at a Jewish market in Jersey City, New Jersey.

While extremism has no particular ethnic identity, Rabbi Yolen says there’s no denying that Jewish people are bearing much of this hate:

But rather than causing Jews to shy away from participating their faith, these incidents are bringing many observant Jews back to the synagogue:

Rabbi Yolen says all Jews must take personal and synagogue security very seriously but can’t let these attacks stop them from the free and open exercise of their faith.