Metrowest Jewish rabbis worried about Israel after Hamas attacks: 'it's attacking us'

Saturday's attack on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas is more than an attack on the people of Israel it's an attack on those of the Jewish faith globally, a local rabbi said.

"The Jewish community is very small globally, and most of us have friends and family in Israel, so when there's a terrorist attack, it's not just attacking them, it's attacking us," said Danny Burkeman, senior rabbi at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland. "We're the ones hiding in our safe room and we're the ones praying for our lives. I was on the phone with my cousin on Saturday her in-laws in Israel were hiding in a safe room with their grandchild as terrorists went door-to-door either taking people hostage or murdering them."

Danny Burkeman, senior rabbi at Temple Shire Tikva in Wayland, said that when there's a terrorist attack in Israel, "it's not just attacking them, it's attacking us."
Danny Burkeman, senior rabbi at Temple Shire Tikva in Wayland, said that when there's a terrorist attack in Israel, "it's not just attacking them, it's attacking us."

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On Sunday, the day after the attacks, Sudbury's Congregation Beth El held a gathering to reflect and pray about what happened. Rabbi Josh Breindel said it was a time to reflect on the Hebrew saying "Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh," which means "all of Israel are responsible for one another."

"I've been feeling the truth of that as I watched the news from Isarael," said Breindel. "Many of my congregants have relatives in Israel, friends in Israel, loved ones in Israel, and it's touching us deeply. We had a gathering at the temple, and we sang songs and prayed. I saw people holding each other. I saw some tears."

And on Monday, several members of the local Jewish community traveled to the Parkman Bandstand in Boston Common to rally for support.

Local police departments step up safety checks at temples

Fearing the possibility of anti-Semitic hate after Israel declared war on Sunday, many local police departments are stepping up safety checks at temples and other places of worship.

"We have increased our presence, and we always have open lines of communications with all of our faith communities and their respective clergies, and all places of worship," Framingham Police Chief Lester Baker said.

The militant Hamas, rulers of the Gaza Strip, carried out an unprecedented, multi-front attack on Israel at daybreak Saturday, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations by air, land and sea, killing hundreds and stunning the country. Palestinian health officials reported scores of deaths from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

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Sudbury Police Chief Scott Nix, Wayland Police interim Police Chief Ed Burman, Natick Deputy Police Chief Brian Lauzon, Franklin Police Chief Thomas Lynch and Milford Police Chief Robert Tusino also said they were increasing safety checks in their communities.

Ashland Police Chief Cara Rossi said officers will be on hand Thursday for a vigil held by Sha'arei Shalom scheduled for 6 p.m. near the Ashland Square on Front Street.

"The Ashland Police Department stands in solidarity with Israel and our Jewish neighbors," she said.

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Burkeman said anti-Semitic hate has been growing in the U.S., and that when something happens in Israel, it often stirs up that hate even more.

"Over the last few years, the level of hate and prejudice has been rising in this country," he said. "I think there's a lack of understanding of the complexity of the situation in Israel, and that leads people to lash out at, by proxy, the local Jewish community."

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On Sunday, Framingham Mayor Charlie Sisistsky and his wife Robin Kaye issued a statement denouncing the attacks:

"This morning, we awoke to the news of the terrorists' attacks on Israel by Hamas. As rockets targets civilians in Israel, our hearts break for the families who lost loved ones. Thousands have been wounded, and many more now live in fear of more attacks. We reject any form of terrorism against innocent civilians and pray for peace and safety for all."

Breindel said statements like that and prayers from non-Jews mean so much to the Jewish community.

"I have received messages from local Christian clergy who have reached out with messages of care and support, saying, 'We don't know exactly what you're going through but you're in our prayers,'" he said. "It's very meaningful when people outside of the Jewish community, both clergy and emergency services, reach out and tell us, 'You're part of this community and we will work together.' Reaching out to us helps us feel better about belonging."

Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or For up-to-date public safety news, follow him on X @Norman_MillerMW or on Facebook at

This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: After Gaza escalation, police departments add extra temple checks