Police have doubled security at Jewish institutions in and near Nashville, TN, after a gunshot was fired outside the West End Synagogue Monday morning. The Tennessean reports that a maintenance worker discovered the bullet hole in the front of the building at 8:30 a.m., shortly after hearing a loud noise. No congregants were in the synagogue at the time, and the shooter has not been identified.
Mark Freedman, executive director for the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, said the Jewish Community in the Middle Tennessee region is on high alert.
“Every synagogue and Jewish institution has been notified through our security team,” Freedman said Monday. “Naturally we are always concerned when incidents especially like this one come up.”
He said Jewish institutions are implementing heightened security measures and that he is in constant communication with police to follow up on the incident and to ensure security until it is certain there is not a continuing threat.
This isn’t the first time the West End Synagogue, an egalitarian congregation affiliated with the Conservative movement, has been targeted. In May 2014, three people broke into the synagogue, reportedly stealing more than $10,000 in silver objects. They were arrested after trying to pawn the items, and charged with theft and burglary.
A month ago, swastikas were spraypainted throughout the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house at nearby Vanderbilt University after a party.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.