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'It's not a surprise anymore': Arkansas Jewish community reacts to anti-Semitic attack

"Many religious people in this country can go to their house of worship, and not have to worry about security... here, we have security," one Rabbi said.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The aftershocks of the anti-Semitic attack on a Texas synagogue this weekend are still being felt across the country. And that includes in Arkansas, where temples are supporting their congregations in the wake of hate.

Rabbi Block of Temple B'nai Israel in Little Rock is friends with the Rabbi that was held hostage in Texas this weekend.

"The concern for me was very personal... we were praying and following the news all day and into the night," Block said.

Like many, he's concerned about the rise of antisemitism, nationwide.

"Many religious people in this country can go to their house of worship, and not have to worry about security... here, we have security," he added.

The Chabad Lubavitch of Arkansas has also tightened their security over the last few years.

Chabad Rabbi Pinchus Ciment says, "it's really a wake up call for us to re-increase our relationship with our local security."

As they still try to maintain a balance of being a welcoming place to pray while staying safe.

"You don't want them to feel that, oh, you have to have a security in order to go price. It's a very delicate issue. So we do like to have that security for the people, but not in a very 'in your face' manner," he said.

As congregates like Dr. Joshua Hekmatjah, cope with fears of rising extremism across the country.

"So these things, for better or for worse, it's not a surprise anymore. It's just kind of the reality we live in," he said.

As local members of the Jewish community still come together to support one another.

Hekmatjah adding, "We have a lot of passion and and we celebrate our holidays together and we have a great community here."

Both Temple B'nai Israel and Chabad Lubavitch of Arkansas say they routinely review security measures and trainings, as well as work with local law enforcement to continue hosting services and events safely.

    

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