Photo Credit: JewishPress.com
New York City Police Department (NYPD)

Police departments in three major cities — including New York City — began ramping up their protection around local synagogues and places of worship after a lone gunman attacked a Jewish house of worship on Saturday in Colleyville, Texas.

Jews Being Held Hostage at Colleyville, Texas Synagogue

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The synagogue’s rabbi and at least three other worshipers were still being held hostage five hours after the gunman entered the building during services broadcast on Facebook livestream.

In New York, a rabbi received a call from Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, the rabbi who is being held hostage together with at least three worshipers in the Colleyville, Texas synagogue, conveying the terrorist’s demands to release his “sister,” a convicted terrorist, NBC New York reported.

The NYPD deployed its counter-terrorism teams to the synagogue where the rabbi received the call in New York out of an abundance of caution, according to NBC New York’s Tom Winter, and also deployed extra police to synagogues around the city.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement, “We are closely monitoring the hostage situation in Colleyville, Texas and we’re praying for a peaceful and safe conclusion.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the NYPD has deployed additional resources to key Jewish locations around the city tonight,” he added.

Brooklyn synagogues were among those under special surveillance, said City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul added that she too is monitoring the situation, writing in a tweet, “My team and I are closely following the hostage situation at a Texas synagogue. There is no threat to New Yorkers at this time.

“Our thoughts are with the worshippers, the first responders, and the Jewish community across the country. Everyone deserves to worship without fear.”

In Brooklyn, the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol said a number of local precincts had already increased the patrols. “If you see something say something,” FSSP said in its tweet.

In addition, the Rockaway Nassau Safety Patrol said that it, too, is stepping up patrols in light of the hostage situation. “We are in contact with local law enforcement, who are stationed at local houses of worship and also beefing up patrols,” the RNSP said in a tweet.

Philadelphia Police Department announced it was monitoring the hostage situation, adding, “While there are no indications that there are any ties to Philadelphia, the PPD has increased patrols around area synagogues and places of worship.”

Likewise in Dallas, Texas — not far from Colleyville — that city’s police department was deploying additional patrols to Dallas synagogues and other sites. “Police are working with the Jewish Federation and our local, state, and federal partners to monitor any concerns or threats based on the situation in Colleyville,” the city’s Mayor Eric Johnson wrote on Twitter.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.