Local Jewish community on alert following deadly Jersey City shooting, rising anti-Semitism

Jewish organizations in the greater Washington region are being urged to increase security after a deadly shooting at a Jewish market in Jersey City that left six people dead, including the attackers.

While their exact motivation is still being investigated by authorities, other public officials have already declared it a hate crime, adding to a growing list of antisemitic incidents across the country, including in the DMV.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

“I think the Jewish community is very nervous at the moment,” Jewish Federation of Greater Washington CEO Gil Preuss said Wednesday night. “We have to think about security in a way that we never had to previously. In fact after Jersey City for the first time we have to think about security in kosher restaurants.”

Preuss talked with Fox 5 back in March after the Federation received a grant from Montgomery County to help religious institutions increase security, but he said even since then, things have worsened. Numerous incidents of antisemitism have occurred in the DC area, including when the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue was vandalized in early December. Also, the most recent hate crime numbers from the FBI show that of the more than 1600 anti-religious hate crimes reported in 2018, more than half targeted Jews.

“Every organization needs to put a risk assessment in place. They need to understand it, and then a plan of how they will deal with any risks that they may be facing as an organization. That needs to be done now,” Preuss said when asked what he’s telling the more than 200 Jewish organizations with offices in greater Washington. “No one wants to be focused on security. It’s not what we want to do, it’s not how we want to be spending our time. It’s something that we need to do, and we have to take it seriously.”