NBC5 reports on Hyde Park neighbors of Barack Obama frustrated by ramped-up security.
Here’s the letter sent out last week to congregants of the K.A.M. Isaiah Israel across the street from Obama’s home:
August 28, 2008
Dear Fellow Congregant
Now that our neighbor Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee for President, the Secret Service has implemented new security measures around his home that will affect access to the synagogue. Although the Secret Service has tried to heed Senator Obama’s request that his neighbors not be unduly inconvenienced, the impact will still be significant.
Starting Friday, August 29, 2008, Greenwood Avenue at Hyde Park Blvd. will be closed to vehicular traffic. Through traffic on Hyde Park Blvd. will not be affected. To reach our parking lot by car you will have to approach from the north. There will be a check point at the corner of 50th Street and Greenwood Avenue where you will be asked for identification. A driver’s license or state identification card will make the process easiest.
If you are arriving on foot you will have to go through either the checkpoint at 50th and Greenwood or one that will be set up on the sidewalk on the south side of Hyde Park Blvd. at University Avenue. Again, identification will be required. Children will not have to show identification
Your identification card will be checked against a list of names that the office has provided to the Secret Service. This list contains all current members, many prior members, the member lists of the two churches that use our facility as well as the nursery school and our after school program participants. If a name is not on the list the Secret Service will ask that person to call the Temple office for authorization to enter. Authorization can also be given by someone else already in the building. If you expect guests at a Temple event you can give the list of names to the office in advance. But it would be wise to request that your guests bring a cell phone just in case the name does not get transferre d to the authorized list.
You will also notice some low fencing along Greenwood Avenue from our parking lot to Hyde Park Blvd., as well as low fencing at the base of the stairs to our main sanctuary. The fencing at the base of the stairs will be removed whenever we request. It will not be present during High Holiday services and congregants will be able to enter and leave the sanctuary through the Greenwood Ave. doors.
We have always been proud to have the Obama family as our neighbors and by living comfortably with these restrictions we will have a chance to demonstrate our friendship. I hope that you will not be discouraged in any way from coming to the Temple. If you are welcoming guests or prospective members to our congregation I hope that you will explain the necessity of these precautions. And, if you have any questions, please call the Temple office (773) 924-1234 or email our new Executive Director, Linda Ross, at linda@ kamii.org.
This could be the most unusual challenge that our congregation has faced in its long history but it is clearly not insurmountable. I look forward to seeing each of you as we greet the New Year.
Lawrence S. Bloom