Shuls across New Zealand to close over Shabbat for ‘first time in history’
search

Shuls across New Zealand to close over Shabbat for ‘first time in history’

The Auckland Hebrew Congregation is among the congregations to cancel services over Shabbat due to security concerns

Police keep watch at a park across the road from a mosque in central Christchurch  (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Police keep watch at a park across the road from a mosque in central Christchurch (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Synagogues across New Zealand are to remain closed over Shabbat following the terrorist attack against two mosques which took the lives of at least 49 worshippers.

“For the first time in history synagogues in New Zealand are closed on Shabbat following the shocking massacre of Muslims in Christchurch,” said Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog. 

He added: “The Jewish Agency for Israel and the New Zealand Jewish Council stand in solidarity with the bereaved families. We are united in fighting violent hatred and racism.‬”

Among the synagogues to close this weekend, the Auckland Hebrew Congregation told members it had taken the “unprecedented step” to cancel all services this Shabbat over “concern about the security” of the community.

The Community Security Trust has also urged places of worship to exercise extra caution over the coming hours.

“Access control is of vital importance. Doors should be closed, to be opened for worshippers, school pupils etc, then closed again,” a statement by the CST read.

“Check areas for any suspicious activity before people arrive or depart the location, and ensure you have outer-circle security in place.”

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the attack one of the country’s “darkest days”, while authorities have detained four suspects and defused explosive devices, in what appeared to be a carefully planned attack.

Following the attack, messages of sympathy and support flooded in from around the world, with Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl saying: “We are horrified by this sickening terrorist attack.”

read more:
comments