Rabbi Credits Training For Surviving Synagogue Hostage Crisis

Some crises—like hostage situations—are more personal than others. But like any crisis, the more you are prepared for them, the better.

NBC DFW reported that, “The rabbi of a Colleyville synagogue said Monday that he threw a chair at the gunman and then escaped with two other hostages after [an 11-hour] standoff, crediting past security training for getting himself and his congregation out safely.”

According to the Associated Press, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker said security training at his suburban Fort Worth congregation over the years is what allowed him and the other three hostages to make it through…” the ordeal, which he described as traumatic.

“In the last hour of our hostage crisis, the gunman became increasingly belligerent and threatening,” Cytron-Walker said in a statement. “Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself.”

CNN reported that Cytron-Walker told CBS that he waited for the right moment before throwing a chair at the assailant— buying enough time for himself and the other hostages to run out.

“Over the years, my congregation and I have participated in multiple security courses from the Colleyville Police Department, the FBI, the Anti-Defamation League, and Secure Community Network,” Cytron-Walker said in the written statement.


“We are alive today because of that education.”

One of the groups the rabbi credited for his training, Secure Community Network, is “the official homeland security and safety initiative of the organized Jewish community in North America,” the nonprofit’s website says.

“I encourage all Jewish congregations, religious groups, schools, and others to participate in active-shooter and security courses,” Cytron-Walker said.

According to the Network’s website, their operations center “provides timely, credible threat and incident information to both law enforcement and community partners, serves as the community’s formal liaison with federal law enforcement and coordinates closely with state and local law enforcement partners.

“SCN works with communities and partners across North America to develop and implement strategic frameworks that enhance safety and security of the Jewish people, developing best practice policies and procedures, undertaking threat and vulnerability assessments, coordinating training and education, offering consultation on safety and security matters and providing crisis management support during critical incidents.”

Advice For Business Leaders

  • Crisis plans, preparations and training are important for every business leader and their companies and organizations.
  • The more authentic the training, the better.
  • Review and update crisis plans on a regular basis to ensure they reflect the latest crisis scenarios.
  • Don’t assume that because your organization did not have a crisis today, that it will not have one tomorrow.
The Tycoon Herald