LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Multiple large-scale events to honor the Jewish faith are planned across the valley during the weekend, provoking organizers to hire extra security for the public gatherings in the face of antisemitism.
Southern Nevada temples said they’ve been increasing security, more so within the past year, following a national rise in antisemitic incidents.
In March, The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) report found a 36% rise in violence, vandalism, and verbal threats directed at Jewish people in 2022.
“Our services are constantly being patrolled and people are being looked after, because you just never know,” Congregation Ner Tamid Cantor Jessica Hutchings told 8 News Now in March.
In the Las Vegas Valley, Boulder City residents found antisemitic flyers posted on their doors in January. It was followed by the news of a swastika allegedly being carved into an autistic and Jewish teenager at school in April.
ADL reported 30 antisemitic incidents in Nevada in 2022. But, the threats are not breaking tradition. Congregation Ner Tamid and Temple Sinai are celebrating the Jewish Day of Rest this Friday in a public way.
Hundreds of people are anticipated in Downtown Las Vegas for their “Pop Up Shabbat” at the El Cortez Hotel.
Canton Hutchings told 8 News Now that they’ve hired five times the amount of security they typically would for the annual event.
Then, on Sunday, up to 1,800 people are expected at Craig Ranch Amphitheater to celebrate 75 years of Israel’s independence.
When asked about security measures, Beth LaManna, regional security advisor for Secure Community Network Nevada, told 8 News Now via statement:
“Given the complex and dynamic threat, environmental security is always at the forefront of our mind. Jewish Nevada has partnered with Secure Community Network to hire a statewide security advisor for this event. Appropriate notifications have been made to our federal, local, and state law enforcement partners. We will have security on site as well as additional patrols being conducted by our local law enforcement agencies.”
Organizers, like Temple Sinai Spiritual Leader Heather Klein, said the extra measures are necessary to combat hate and live outwardly Jewish.
“I think we just don’t have a choice,” Klein said in Summerlin Thursday morning. “I think it’s something we absolutely have to do, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Information about Friday’s Shabbat can be found here, while information about Sunday’s Israel Festival can be found on the Jewish Nevada website.