As Passover begins, many synagogues and Jewish centers have increased security

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz spent Monday afternoon preparing for a traditional Seder meal for Passover with one notable exception.

“We are going to have someone with a big gun, protecting us. That’s what has changed,” Minkowicz said.

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For the first time at the Chabad of North Fulton, an armed guard will stand watch outside during the first meal of Passover.

“It’s not that we have fear, but we are responding to the facts of life out there,” Minkowicz said.

According to the ADL, there were 8900 antisemitic events nationwide last year, including bomb threats made towards two Roswell synagogues in December.

“We had to start increasing our safety and our patrol and our armed guards and our internal security team. We had to totally revamp how we protect ourselves. But October 7 took it to the next level,” the rabbi said.

Minkowicz is far from alone as the Jewish community has taken steps to try and make synagogues, schools, and centers safer.

“Every day, I’m talking to law enforcement, I will speak to the FBI, state, and local law enforcement to see if there are any discernable threats in our area,” says Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta Security Director Brian Davis.

Davis is a long-time law enforcement officer who worked for the FBI. He says beyond constant communication, he’s focused on working with Jewish sites to improve security.

“Harden targets and harden our facilities with alarms, cameras, and access points,” Davis said.

Many synagogues and Jewish schools are hiring more security personnel as well.

“We saw at least a 200 percent increase in the Atlanta area for security,”  said Nathan Taylor, Director of Operations for the Kehoe Group.


Taylor trains and manages security personnel. He said 49 of his 59 Georgia-based employees are protecting synagogues this week

But despite the precautions being taken around the county, for Rabbi Minkowitz, this Passover is an opportunity to gather, worship, and celebrate together.

“The mood here will not be down, will not be with any melancholy, we will celebrate. Inside, it will be the same exact Passover. But outside in the parking lot, it will look different,” Minkowitz said.

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