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Saturday, July 29, 2006 - Page updated at 02:06 PM

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Region's wary synagogues vow not to "let hatred stop holiness"

Seattle Times staff reporter

A note was taped to the door of Congregation Beth Shalom Synagogue on Friday.

"No services tonight," it read. "Watch the news."

At a time when Jews traditionally celebrate the start of the Sabbath, synagogues around Seattle were on high alert hours after the shootings at the Jewish Federation office. A representative from the local Anti-Defamation League had recommended that every synagogue, temple and Jewish institution clear their buildings "until we find out if it's a lone incident."

Ed Osdoba walked around the perimeter of Beth Shalom in northeast Seattle, looking for anything out of the ordinary.

"I'm on pins and needles," said Osdoba, a member of the Conservative congregation. "I'm sure I have a friend who was wounded."

Families who usually celebrate the Sabbath at the synagogue had moved to one member's home for services, he said. But the synagogue expected to welcome as many as 300 people this morning for the regular Sabbath service.

A few blocks away, the congregation at Temple Beth Am was determined to hold its regular Friday night service. Rabbi Jonathan Singer said he felt strongly that the community should come together, in public, soon after the shootings.

"You can't let hatred stop holiness," Singer told the members of his Reform congregation.

He asked them to pray for the victims as well as the family of the shooter.

About 100 people had gathered for services at the temple, some with their children in tow. At the entrance, they passed a security guard, posted during services since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The temple also has installed security cameras and motion detectors in the aftermath of that tragedy.

After Friday's shootings, temple officials decided to increase security this weekend.

Elsewhere, at the Reform Temple Beth Or in Everett, Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman asked police for extra security during Friday services. Everett police Lt. David Fudge said while there were no known credible threats, police wanted to ease people's minds by providing a presence. Two uniformed officers were posted outside.

Back at Temple Beth Am, some said they lived every day with the idea that violence was possible. Israel has been in conflict since its birth.

"As a Jew, you're sensitive to the situation," said Jessica Goldman, who serves on the temple's board. "But you're not expecting something to happen in your community."

Staff reporters Janet I. Tu and Lynn Thompson contributed to this report.

Cara Solomon: 206-464-2024 or csolomon@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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