New Zealand synagogues were closed for Shabbat over security concerns


(JTA) — Synagogues in New Zealand were closed for Shabbat over security concerns following an attack on two mosques by a white supremacist that left up to 50 worshippers dead.

In addition to the synagogues being closed for Shabbat, Jewish community centers in the country were closed over the weekend and the Kadimah Jewish day school announced that it would remain closed on Monday.

The Auckland Hebrew Congregation told members it had taken the “unprecedented step” of cancelling all Shabbat services over “concern about the security” of the community, the UK Jewish News reported.

Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog tweeted on Friday: “For the first time in history synagogues in NZ are closed on Shabbat following the shocking massacre of Muslims in Christchurch. The Jewish Agency and the NZ Jewish Council stand in solidarity with the bereaved families. We are united in fighting violent hatred and racism.”

A spokesperson for the New Zealand Jewish Council told J-Wire that the synagogues and Jewish institutions had closed on the advice of police. CNN also called it a “show of solidarity.”

Britain’s Community Security Trust also called on places of worship to exercise extra caution following the attack in New Zealand.

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