BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Jewish communities around the world are ramping up security and it is no different in Bakersfield.
Though the conflict is happening thousands of miles away in Israel, the pain and fears of discrimination from it are being felt everywhere, including here in Bakersfield.
Chabad of Bakersfield and Temple Beth El, two local synagogues in Bakersfield, told 17 News both synagogues have been taking measures since Hamas attacked Israel to make safety a priority in an effort to keep their people safe.
“The security provides a sense of security that you’re technically safer, you know, obviously we need to do everything that we can to keep safe, to keep our community safe, to keep our children safe, because antisemitism has risen about 500% in the past two weeks, just in the two weeks and we need to keep ourselves safe,” said Chabad of Bakersfield’s Esther Schlanger.
American Jews are disproportionately affected by hate crimes compared to other religious groups. The FBI reported that in 2022, there were at least 1,124 anti-Jewish hate crimes reported to the FBI. The second most common hate crime falls behind anti-Black and the most common religion-related hate crime.
“Do we think there is an actual threat that we know of we can’t say there is, but people don’t announce their threats do they, so we are making sure. There is a lot of fear, but this is what it means to be a Jew in the world we’ve always had people in the world out to hurt us and sadly we have to protect ourselves,” said Rabbi Jonathan Klein of Temple Beth El.
As the war in Israel nears two weeks, both share they will continue to have increased security with the help of city law enforcement, gates, and cameras and are grateful to have the help of the city and more to make that happen.