BCS Jewish leader: 'We are going to stand up to this hate' after attacks on places of worship

Published: Apr. 29, 2019 at 5:09 PM CDT
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A woman died to protect her rabbi Saturday in San Diego, as worshipers celebrated the last day of a major Jewish holiday. The rabbi was wounded but survived, and two others were injured as well.

Here in Bryan-College Station, news of another incident, just six months after a shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue, hits home for the leader of a local Jewish organization.

"It's sad to me that we're dealing with another religious issue in terms of violence," said Risa Bierman, executive director of the Texas A&M Hillel. "And it's not just the Jewish religion--we've had others."

Others like the attack on mosques in New Zealand or Christian churches in Sri Lanka.

"At a time when our nation is so divided, religion is usually a community builder," said Bierman.

The Texas A&M Hillel is adjacent to campus, just on the other side of George Bush Drive. Bierman says that there are practical concerns as well, after attacks like these.

"I don't feel unsafe," said Bierman, "but that doesn't mean that we're not taking precautions on safety."

For example, Bierman says the Hillel's doors used to be open all the time. Now, they're locked "24/7."

"A place that you go to have community...when you go to a religious service," said Bierman, "and now we're having to think, 'Do we need to have an armed policeman?'"

Bierman continues to stress that Jewish people are not the only faithful that have come under attack, citing general "religious intolerance." A possible solution? Togetherness and education between the differing religions.

"I think what you do is you say, 'We're not going to be afraid,'" said Bierman. "You go and say that we're going to be a larger community, a solid community, and you come together more often."

"Say, 'We are going to stand up to this hate,'" Bierman said.

For the full conversation, see the video player above.

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