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Reflections From Our Former Security Chair, Michael Mulcahy

Shalom from Modi’in, Israel - You can imagine my shock when the morning news feed featured a hostage situation at “Congregation Beth Israel.” Well, it’s a common-enough name for a synagogue in America. OK, Texas, not Northern California! As the CBI Security Chair I spent the past several years worrying about such an event at our little shul. Early on I noticed how events in America began to resemble those of the 1930s, with rising antisemitism infecting both the political Right and Left. We are only 2% of the American population, but always lead the FBI reports - typically at around 60% of reported religious hate crimes. It would be nice to think that our small semi-rural community is exempt from society’s ills, but we know that is no longer true. This week antisemitic flyers were distributed in Chico. I assume the perpetrators were the group who recently did the same in San Francisco - the cutely-named “Goyim Defense League.” Cute, they are not; incredibly vicious is their style. And they started up in Petaluma, so you might say they are neighbors. So, what’s the Good news? (1) The Texas terrorist had bad timing. Due to the pandemic, there were few congregants present, most attending via Zoom; the shul had undergone security training; and the Rabbi was one cool dude, finding the right moment to push an escape. (2) This past year we were awarded a FEMA/Homeland Security grant to do some upgrades to our physical plant. It was not as much as I asked for, but it turns out to be a higher percentage than most of the awards made. Once your Board succeeds in wading through the huge pile of government paperwork involved, we can improve things considerably. (3) I have had email with the FBI; we are on their currently-very-busy screen. (4) The best news of all - we are a strong, loving community. Small we are, but the Texican CBI isn’t much larger, and they got through it. Mighty Mouse can always save the day! Missing you all! L'hitraot, Michael Mulcahy

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