Latest reports have brought to the forefront fresh details regarding the Saturday incident at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, where the rabbi and three congregants were being held hostage. According to the JTA, Angela Buchdahl, senior rabbi at the Central Synagogue in New York had been conscripted into negotiations during the horrific event.
Confirming her involvement in the matter, Buchdahl said she spoke to the attacker twice during the 11-hour stand-off. She wrote in an email, “I can confirm that the gunman reached out to me twice yesterday by phone. We are about to share a note with the congregation just confirming that. Other than that for security reasons I cannot share more.”
While the reason of the involvement remains uncertain, a law enforcement source told the New York Post that the gunman called Central Synagogue directly and demanded to speak to Buchdahl. The gunman told Buchdahl that he had a bomb and wanted her to use her influence to secure the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a convicted terrorist who is in a federal prison in Texas.
Immediately after the news of Buchdahl being involved in the matter, Central Synagogue’s executive director and president said in the email to congregants that Buchdahl had no prior relationship with the gunman and that she “immediately contacted law enforcement and followed their directions” after receiving the call.