Jewish Federation reacts to local terror plot

Published: Dec. 12, 2018 at 5:52 PM EST
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Those at the Jewish Community Center and the adjacent temples have their guard up.

And with good reason.

Federal agents arrested Damon Joseph, 21, of Holland, Ohio, this past Friday. He's accused of planning an attack on a synagogue.

Court documents show Joseph ultimately focused on the complex off Sylvania Ave.

"I mean, we're so grateful for the F.B.I. and our local law enforcement to continue doing what they do. They averted this attack," says Tina Stieben, Interim C.E.O. of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo.

Stieben explains many in the community had reactions that progressed from shock to fear to anger.

Now, they are resilient.

"We do want to reassure everybody that we do have security and a plan in place," continued Stieben.

She says many of those in the congregation feel more comfortable after hearing from a spokesperson for the F.B.I. who spoke at the temple Tuesday night.

"You are probably safer here than you were two days ago because, you know, you have bad guys off the street," adds Wendy Payne, Director of Religious Education at Temple Shomer Emunim.

Payne says she won't let Joseph's alleged plan stop her from coming to temple and it shouldn't stop anyone else.

"The synagogue is near and dear to my heart," says Payne. "I feel completely safe here. I now work here, run the religious school. I send my children to religious school every week. They attend the Hebrew program. I have no reason to believe they are not safe."

"I think for the most part people feel safe, which is the message that we're trying to get out, is that you are safe," reiterated Stieben.

That's because Joseph is now behind bars facing a charge of terrorism.