In Boston’s Heavily Jewish Suburbs, Shock and Re-Sparked Memories

Police Manhunt Recalled Terror in Israel and Elsewhere

Lockdown City: A manhunt continued throughout the day on Friday in and around Boston.
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Lockdown City: A manhunt continued throughout the day on Friday in and around Boston.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published April 19, 2013.
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“This week has been especially hard for me personally, beside what it’s been for all of us here,” Kreiman said. “I haven’t yet put it together, how does it go together with my own personal experience of the [1994] bombing. Its still too surreal to put it together….I’m looking out the windows and I’ve never seen a street so empty in the area.”

Other Jews living in the locked-down suburbs of Brookline and Newton responded with shock on Friday morning. Some had been up all night watching the news. Others were woken by emergency calls at six in the morning, warning them not to go outdoors.

Contacted by the Forward, many residents focused on the immediate details, as news reports circulated of heavily armed police forces combing the suburb of Watertown. Others compared their experiences in Boston this week to experiences in Israel during the Second Intifada. “This is so unprecedented in America, to have this wide a lockdown,” said Rabbi Leonard Gordon, spiritual leader of Congregation Mishkan Tefila, a synagogue in Newton. “We’ll see how this impacts on people’s sense of security.”

The lockdown isrupted the lives of people throughout Boston. Paasche-Orlow said that staffers can’t travel to their work at Hebrew SeniorLife facilities, but that people already on duty have been asked to stay at the homes to continue to provide services to the elders who live there.

In an email sent to his congregants, Gordon noted the momentous nature of what they were all experiencing, and the small rhythms of daily life that stood frozen in place. “More narrowly, for our kehillot (such as mine, Mishkan Tefila in Newton),” he wrote, “this meant cancelled morning minyan, cancelled Nursery School, and disrupted preparations for Shabbat. “

An outgoing voicemail on the phone of JCDS Boston, a Jewish day school in Watertown, where the missing suspect was apparently last seen, simply said that the school was closed for the day.

Virginia Drachman, who lives in Newton, said she and her husband were wakened at 6 a.m. by an emergency phone call recording informing her about the lock-down. “There were practically no cars on the road,” Drachman said. “We saw one car go by and we actually saw two walkers walking, and that was it, all morning.”


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