Chicago Synagogue Targeted by Terrorists

| October 31, 2010

Chicago – There's been an arrest in the terror threat involving explosive packages.

Authorities in Yemen say they're holding a woman suspected of mailing the devices to two Chicago synagogues.

The packages were intercepted in England and United Arab Emirates Friday morning, triggering a terrorism alert here at home.

One package was addressed to a north side synagogue, named Or Chadash.

It has about a hundred members and leases space in a lakefront synagogue that has been the home of Emmanuel Congregation.

Or Chadash had a regularly scheduled congregational dinner last night where leaders told their members about the terror alert.

The group has an open, tolerant policy and welcomes gay, lesbian transgender and bisexual members.

At first, synagogue leaders thought that might have drawn attention… But they don't think so now.

And other Chicagoans were shocked that the tiny congregation would be a target.

Lilli Kornblum, the Co-President of Or Chadash said "We have a highly visible lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual community and at first we thought that might have attracted attention. But as we learned that more packages were sent, we now don't take it personally. Well, we are taking it personally as human beings and as Jews but it seems we were randomly selected from any number of Jewish organizations in Chicago."

Sue Shaffer lives in a high rise near Or Chadash. She says, "Being Jewish, people are aware of being susceptible to some forms of prejudice or antagonism and take precautions but I was pretty shocked."

Arlene Prebiti also lives nearby. She said, "This is a small neighborhood synagogue it would never cross my mind, never."

Governor Pat Quinn, speaking at a campaign appearance at PUSH Rainbow headquarters said, "Terrorists are trying to terrorize america again, are we going to let em do it? No way. Democracy will prevail."

Kornbulm said "its lakefront location makes it vulnerable and Chicago police put extra patrols at the synagogue last night ."

Kornbulm also said "she'll step up security in response to the terror alert but advised members to go about their normal routines."

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security