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Mandl said there was little doubt that the gunman acted out of hatred for Jews, although authorities said they weren’t sure about any link to Passover.
Rabbi David Glickman, of the Beth Shalom Synagogue in Overland Park, also rushed to the Jewish Community Center when he heard the news of the shooting.
The Kansas City area has a Jewish community of about 20,000.
“This is so abberational. Everybody is shocked that it would happen here,” said Glickman. “This is a community that enjoys very strong and positive relations between the Jewish community and the rest of the community.”
Karen Aroesty, the director of the local Anti-Defamation League office, cautioned against drawing conclusions about the attack until more details were known.
“People have anxiety, and when there is a Jewish institution involved, the first reflex is to go the negative as soon as possible,” she said.
Aroesty praised the police response.
“The law enforcement response so far has been very quick and substantive,” she said.
The Secure Community Network, the security affiliate of national Jewish groups, asked communities nationwide to increase security measures, but urged Jews to attend services and other Passover-related events as they had planned before the shooting.
“They need to review secure plans and reach out to police partners to ensure that they work closely with the Jewish community over the next couple of says — review, test and exercise their response plans,” SCN director Paul Goldenberg told JTA. “They need to trust their instincts and err on the side of caution.”
Goldenberg said it was critical that Jews carry on with their Passover plans.
“The Passover celebration is a precious moment for American Jews, and an act such as this should not keep us from synagogues, celebrations and Jewish centers,” he said.
With JTA and Reuters