Today — 3 days after the frightening intrusion during a luncheon program — Temple Israel president Steven Phillips issued this statement:
We at Temple Israel are grateful for the outpouring of community support we have received after this week’s incident with the intruders at our congregation. Many of you have asked us to share our reactions to the ongoing conversation around this sad event.
Common sense tells us that 2 men do not travel from New Haven to politely read a statement to a small, private luncheon. Rather, their goal was to do exactly what they did: to create a disturbance, to distress our community, and to get themselves and their message in the press.
Our community has already paid a high price. Those attending the luncheon, our families, and especially our children, whose safety was and must be our first concern, were made to feel unsafe in our congregation. And now, too much of the precious community resources we rely on to communicate with and connect to one another are being devoted to giving the intruders what they crave: attention. They’ve had their 15 minutes; let’s focus on what really matters.
The police report speaks eloquently to the facts, and the court will establish its truth. The responsibility for the incident belongs solely to the intruders. The police and our staff responded magnificently and exactly as they were trained, and fortunately, there were no injuries. Now is the time to let the judicial process do its work and make certain that these 2 men, and these 2 men alone, suffer the consequences of what they did.
That is what we at Temple Israel intend to do, while we continue to make sure that our community is safe, and that we keep doing the good work that we and all our neighbors in Westport do every day. There is no better or more principled way to respond.