South African Jews should “whenever possible, walk together in groups, particularly at night,” a local communal organization warned prior to the start of the Shavuot holiday. Shavuot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, was celebrated on Wednesday in Israel, continuing on Thursday everywhere else.
The holiday bulletin by the Community Security Organization also suggested that women and girls be “escorted by a male” and that Jews not “wear visible Jewelry or other signs of wealth.”
South Africa suffers from high levels of violent crime and while the country has a 38% index score on the Anti-Defamation League’s recent global anti-Semitism survey, no recent high profile violent incidents against the Jewish community have been reported.
In April, following the shooting of three people at a Jewish Community Center in the United States, the National Council of Young Israel, a network of modern orthodox synagogues, issued a similar bulletin recommending that congregants not walk alone over the Passover holiday.
Other suggested security precautions included not letting strangers into synagogues, employing the “Run, Hide, Fight” model of active shooter response and securing trash cans so that bombs can’t be hidden in them.
Last month three people were killed in a shooting at a Jewish museum in Belgium, that was followed less than a day later by the beating of two French Jews outside of a synagogue in a Paris suburb.