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Pittsburgh-Area Synagogues To See Heightened Security For High Holy Day Services

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The Jewish High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and then Yom Kippur, begin at sundown Sunday.

Sadly, the services come as the one year commemoration of the Tree of Life massacre approaches.

The regular Friday Shabbat service was underway at Rodef Shalom and nothing appears out of the ordinary.

But when worshippers arrive Sunday night, expect to see armed security to ensure congregants can worship without worry.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two most important Jewish holidays.

It's a time for members of the faith to repent and begin a new year.

For many, this could be their first time back to the synagogue since last October's deadly attack at The Tree of Life.

"We are very aware of the fact that people are concerned and have a heightened sense of fear because of the attack last year," said Adam Hertzman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

With that in mind, the Jewish Federation is spending $100,000 for security at 16 area synagogues over the High Holy Days. Private and area police, including Pittsburgh Police, will make it safe to worship.

"We want to make sure that everybody feels safe, and feels comfortable worshipping in the way that's meaningful to them, without having to think about another attack," said Hertzman.

The officers will be armed and highly visible.

"We know one of the things that's a deterrent to attacks is making sure that anybody who might do something bad is able to see a security presence," Hertzman added.

Many Jewish people refrain from working during the High Holidays and focus on attending synagogue services. But this year they'll be worshipping with armed security.

"There's a feeling that people want to be safe. And we know there's a sense of fear, even though the community is very safe," said Hertzman.

Rosh Hashanah is also a time to think of loved ones who have been lost, so the Tree of Life attack will be very much on the minds of Jewish worshippers this weekend.

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