Las Vegas Jewish schools use Pittsburgh violence as teaching moment

Local News

Over the years, a local synagogue has made a number of security upgrades, fearing an attack like what happened in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

In fact, last year Chabad of Southern Nevada was the target of an arson fire believed to have been a hate crime. Needless to say, they take security very seriously and have multiple layers of protection. And part of it is keeping an open community with everyone, even young students who attend school.

Rabbi Moishe Rodman prays with students, remembering the victims of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

He’s the principal of the Desert Torah Academy and is taking the opportunity to speak to the young children about a tragedy that hit close to home.

“When something bad happens, especially in a place that’s like our place, a synagogue, a Jewish place, the natural reaction is to be afraid, maybe that can happen here,” said Rabbi Moishe Rodman, principal, Desert Torah Academy.

He is reminding students the school is a safe place and they’ve made sure of it after installing a tall fence, a sophisticated surveillance camera system, and hiring an armed security guard. There’s also no access to the campus or the synagogue without getting buzzed in.

“That’s the challenge that we always have, we don’t want to be a fortress and put up a gates and doors that it will be impossible to come in so we try to do the best that we can to balance,” said Rabbi Shea Harlig, Chabad of Southern Nevada. 

He says Chabad of Southern Nevada remains a welcoming place even after being the target of hate crimes. Last year, Metro police arrested a man for setting a car on fire.

“There’s a certain type of hatred, nothing that, really, that we do to deserve it but as a minority, people always like to pick on the minority,” Rabbi Harlig said.

He believes after a senseless act of violence, it’s important to do an act of kindness and that’s exactly what they’re teaching their students.

“We have to do something good today,” Rabbi Rodman said.

This Thursday, there will be a community vigil for the 11 people who lost their lives in the Pittsburgh mass shooting.

It’s happening at Temple Beth Sholom in the west part of the valley. The address is 10700 Havenwood Lane, Las Vegas, 89135 on Nov. 1, Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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