Voorhees N.J. (WTXF) - Law-enforcement agencies around the U.S. are deploying extra officers at synagogues and Jewish centers in response to a shooting that claimed 11 lives at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Security outside of congregation Beth El in Voorhees, New Jersey, is noticeably increased with a daily police presence, but inside Executive Director Josh Laster says security has always been tight and If doors are unlocked for a special event--armed guards are present.
On Saturday morning, when a gunman stormed Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and opened fire--killing 11 people while a baby naming ceremony was going on inside, Cherry Hill mom of three Heidi Chabbria was at Beth El celebrating her 13-year-old son's bar mitzvah.
"It was like a punch to the gut in the middle of the happiest day of our lives with our children," she said.
The synagogue sent a mass email at sundown reiterating the security procedures to ease members minds. Some of whom also send their children to the synagogue for preschool.
On Sunday night, the congregation hosted a standing room only unity event.
Chhabria says conversations with her children are ongoing.
"Be proud--be who you are--keep on doing what we do," she said.
She always wants them to see the light.