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Chicago Synagogues On Alert In Wake Of Terror Plot

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Congregation Shaare Tikvah

Congregation Shaare Tikvah in Chicago’s Hollywood Park neighborhood. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Jewish Federation of Chicago was helping get the word out to local synagogues and Jewish centers on Friday after authorities intercepted two suspicious packages from Yemen. The packages were bound for two Chicago synagogues.

CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports that the Jewish Federation was taking precautions and advising the synagogues in the Chicago area to do the same.

The Anti-Defamation League sent out about 170 security alerts to synagogues and other Jewish facilities in the Chicago area after authorities announced that two suspicious packages containing explosives had been intercepted overseas. The packages originated in Yemen and were addressed to Chicago synagogues.

The alerts encouraged synagogues and Jewish centers to step up mailroom security and to keep their guard up.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports that the terror scare came just hours before the Jewish sabbath was about to start. It’s supposed to be a peaceful time, but with the terror threat aimed specifically at Jewish temples, this sabbath will be filled with worry and tension.

Certainly there’s concern at temples across Chicago, and some people will worry about these latest threats.

“I think we take all warnings seriously, because we never know,” Rabbi Yochanan Posner, of Lubavitch Chabad in Skokie, said. “I feel that by getting too worried we kind of give victory to … these people who are sending these packages. Their goal is to make people nervous and we’re not going to give into them; we’re not going to get nervous.”

Posner said he tells his congregation that when you see evil, you should do more good and be more kind, and it will outweigh any nervousness.

Clare Pinkert with the Anti-Defamation League said when authorities notified her of the suspicious packages, she was worried.

“My own child goes to preschool at a synagogue in Chicago, so of course it made me … very, very nervous,” Pinkert said. “I’m a mother and of course, when I think about my child, I would be anxious when I think about these security threats.”

But FBI sources said there is no credible threat to Chicago, because the packages were intercepted overseas and were benign. In addition, no one has claimed responsibility for the packages.

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