Local News

Local Jewish Center Re-evaluates Security After National Shooting

Posted August 10, 1999

— The search is over for a suspect in Tuesday's shooting at a Jewish community center in California. However, the shooting has left a lot of people who work at Jewish community centers and Jewish schools especially concerned about safety.

Although no one believes it could or would happen in the Triangle, the Jewish Community Center in Raleigh is not taking any chances.

Last week there were more than 100 children at the center per day attending summer camp. Camp ended Friday and leaders at the Jewish Community Center are relieved that the kids are gone. But activities continue there throughout the year, and as a result the director is looking very closely at security.

Children are not supposed to be escorted from their summer camp by armed officers. Watching parents embrace survivors Tuesday was an image few will soon forget.

"That could have me or my husband," says Deirdre Barlaz, who has two children enrolled at the Raleigh community center, which offers a Jewish cultural education.

"If you hear that your child has been injured and it might be yours, ... there's nothing like that feeling, it must have been terrifying," Barlaz said.

Teachers at Hillel are preparing classrooms for the 70 students who will arrive Monday. The shooting is fresh on their minds.

"It just puts us all on our toes. It scares us and makes us more alert," says Lynn Zeidman, preschool director at Hillel.

"We are concerned," says Judah Segal, who runs the Jewish Community Center. Summer camp ended there Friday. Segal is glad the children are gone, but is still re-evaluating the center's security.

"We use many different modern security methods to hopefully reduce the possibility of something like this happening," Segal said.

Parents say there is only so much they can do.

"I believe, as I believed the day before yesterday, that my kids will be safe here," Barlaz said. "I will take every precaution I can to keep it that way."

The Jewish Community Center and local Jewish schools had meetings Wednesday morning to address security issues. For obvious reasons, they will not talk specifically about what they are doing, but the director says he has talked to the sheriff's department and has gotten some very good advice.


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