Local synagogue works to keep attendees safe from violence

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- After a mass shooting in Pittsburgh that killed at least 11 people, WVLT News went to a local synagogue to see how they keep their attendees safe.

"It's a fear," said Rabbi Erin Boxt of Temple Beth El. "Can it happen here?"

Saturday is a day of peace and holiness in the Jewish religion. The day of rest was taken from a synagogue in Pittsburgh when a shooter opened fire.

Rabbi Erin Boxt said their synagogues' first thoughts are with the people who died.

"Obviously our hearts go out to all of the members, not just the members of the Jewish community, but the police officers and all those who were injured," said Rabbi Boxt.

Rabbi Boxt said the horrific act makes the synagogue take a closer look at their own security.

"It's given us a moment to reflect and stop what we're doing and gather our thoughts," said Rabbi Boxt. "We have cameras. Our doors are always locked and closed, so you can't come in without getting buzzed in. We have connections with police departments, the county and city."

Rabbi Boxt said tragedies like a shooting point to a deeper idea people should think about.

"I want us to be more of a community together and concern ourselves more with what we have in common and less what we don't have in common," said Rabbi Boxt.

Boxt said anytime they have a large crowd, police officer escorts are inside and outside of the building.