WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Thousands of people in the Jewish community will gather next week to worship and celebrate the High Holy Days.
Ahead of the upcoming holidays this month, a local group is increasing security to protect worshippers.
For the first time, the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County will distribute trauma kits to 31 local synagogues.
In the event of a tragedy, these supplies will help those at the scene to treat life-threatening injuries until first responders arrive.
The trauma kits contain medical essentials such as bandages, gloves and tourniquets.
Temple Beth Torah in Wellington will welcome its largest crowd since the beginning of the pandemic.
"We have distanced our extra seats in the back," said Rabbi Andrew Rosenkranz. "We've closed off every other pew."
The temple is taking new safety measures in the middle of a worldwide health crisis ahead of Rosh Hashanah, which begins at sundown on Monday and Yom Kippur later this month.
"These are the holiest of the Holy Days," Rosenkranz said.
The rabbi said his temple is also focusing on security amid a rise in antisemitism in America.
"Security is the new ritual in Jewish houses of worship now," Rosenkranz said. "There's been an uptick in antisemitism incidents over the last few years. The rhetoric has been more heated than it's ever been in the past few years."
The Anti-Defamation League reported earlier this year that Florida is now also home to the fourth most antisemitic incidents in the United States.
"These trauma kits were recommended by Homeland Security. It includes bleed kits, which means, unfortunately, if there is some incident where there's blood, it prevents the bleeding until first responders can come," said Michael Hoffman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.
He said the rising levels of antisemitism demonstrate the need to take all precautions necessary.
"We are living in a time where you have to be so vigilant," Rosenkranz said. "Let's just pray we never have to use it."
The Jewish Federation says it has also been holding webinars and training sessions for all Jewish institutions with police and Homeland Security, making education and security a priority.
Click here to learn how to report antisemitism and more about security at local synagogues.