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Wisconsin leaders taking precautions, condemn Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The mass shooting at a Pennsylvania synagogue killing 11 people has members of Milwaukee’s Jewish community concerned and they’re taking precautions.

A Rabbi at Congregation Sinai in Fox Point tells CBS 58 News a police squad car was parked in front of their synagogue Saturday to take extra precautions following the mass shooting in Pittsburgh. Nearby, the Bayside Police Department also stepped up patrols at their local synagogue.

The Milwaukee Jewish Federation said police across the Milwaukee area took precautions Saturday.

“We had special responses today with the effort to keep the community safe,” Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council Elana Kahn said.

Kahn said this fear is a sad reality people have to face.

“It's what we're afraid of all the time. It's specific to the Jewish community, but it's also the moment we're in,” Kahn said.

Kahn said people she spoke to in our area are afraid and scared.

“I've heard a lot of disgusted and sickened this morning,” Kahn said.

Rabbi Noah Chertkoff of Congregation Shalom in Fox Point tells CBS 58 News that many people contacted him saying they felt distraught. In a joint statement to the congregation, he said in part:

"It is a grim reality that no matter where we are, whether it be Israel, the United States or beyond, we are vulnerable to the violent intentions of hate-filled individuals who might act alone or in groups to do us harm."

Kahn believes there are links to the violent rhetoric we see today and says we should demand more from our leaders.

“How we allow them to communicate,” Khan said. “How we respond when they communicate with words of violence and with words of othering other people.”   

Kahn said that we all need to come together in the wake of this horrific mass shooting.

“I think we have to experience the grief of this moment,” Khan said. “The horror of the moment and do what we can to offer support.”

Both Jewish leaders tell CBS 58 they plan to hold community vigils, but have not determined the dates or times yet. A vigil at UW-Milwaukee will be held Sunday at 12:30 p.m.


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