Jewish Orgs in NY & NJ Join Forces in Effort to Improve Communal Security

New York, NY, March 28, 2023 - In the aftermath of a series of violent antisemitic plots threatening synagogues in New York and New Jersey, eight leading organizations serving the Jewish community in New York and New Jersey have joined forces to create a clearinghouse for information sharing, training, and resources -- the Jewish Security Alliance of NY/NJ.

The new alliance formalizes existing relationships, establishes a streamlined process for information sharing on credible threats, and establishes mechanisms that will help bolster the safety of the entire community. This partnership couldn’t come at a more important moment for the Jewish community in these two states, with antisemitic incidents in the U.S. again reaching historic levels in 2022, and with New York and New Jersey coming in first and third, respectively, among states having the highest number of reported antisemitic incidents.

The newly formed alliance consists of five Jewish Federations, ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), the Community Security Initiative (CSI) of New York, a joint program of UJA-Federation of New York and JCRC-NY, and the Community Security Service’s Northeastern Division (CSS). The five Federations are the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ, Jewish Federation of Northern NJ, Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon & Warren Counties, the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County, and the Jewish Federation of Southern NJ. The Jewish Security Alliance of NY/NJ has four key objectives:

Serve as a central point of contact for federal and local agencies on issues and incidents affecting the safety and security of the Jewish community in greater New York City and New Jersey;
Serve as a reliable and inclusive source of information on threats or other security issues affecting the Jewish community in New York and New Jersey;
Receive incident reports from Jewish institutions and community members and share these reports among the members of the alliance and with relevant law enforcement authorities;
Provide security recommendations and training for Jewish institutions and its members to better safeguard the community in this region.

“Protecting the safety and security of Jewish life is an ever-increasing Federation priority,” said Susan Antman, Executive Director of Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey serving Monmouth and Greater Middlesex counties. “Formalizing integrated processes with regional partners across our highly connected communities compliments valued partnerships at national and local levels and promises to speed and strengthen individual and coordinated approaches to security threats, including communications with law enforcement, advocacy with elected officials, and the everyday practices of community members.”

“Over the course of the last year and the relentless tempo of antisemitic threats that see no border between New York and New Jersey, our eight organizations have forged a strong operational alliance against hate which has become an integral part of the solution to protect our communities," said Mitch Silber, the Executive Director of the Community Security Initiative, a joint program of UJA-Federation of New York and JCRC-NY.  “This alliance enables seamless regional coordination yet allows all the organizations to continue to work with other national Jewish security partner organizations, including the Secure Community Network (SCN), to safeguard the New York – New Jersey Jewish population of approximately two million people, or 1/3 of American Jewry.”

“Security preparedness and awareness have become paramount in our planning and practice,” said Dov Ben-Shimon, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, the largest Jewish organization in New Jersey, covering Jewish community life in Union, Essex, Sussex, Morris, and parts of Somerset County. “On a daily basis we’re grappling with this new reality, and we’re grateful for a combined approach to help develop this vital task further.”

“When we work collectively, we are better situated to protect and advocate for the Jewish communities in our region. As the need for increased security in New Jersey and New York continues to rise, it is more important than ever to create solutions for a united front,” said Jennifer Dubrow Weiss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. “We are fortunate to be a part of the Jewish Security Alliance’s and look forward to meaningful collaboration and working toward the common goal to keep our institutions and communities safe.”

“Antisemitic threats don’t stop at town or state borders,” said Jason M. Shames, CEO of Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, which serves over 125,000 Jews in Bergen, Hudson, and parts of Passaic counties.  “Over the past year, the greater NY-NJ area has seen an unprecedented rise in threats and incidents and we have all stepped up our efforts to prepare and secure our communities. This alliance codifies and strengthens the ongoing cooperation of Jewish security operations in our area and will better protect our combined Jewish community against risks and acts of violence.”

“The recent steep rise in antisemitism, and the resulting increase in bias incidents and hate crimes, compels us to join together to protect Jewish communities in New York and New Jersey,” said Robin Wishnie, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon & Warren Counties, NJ.  “Through our Federation, the 14 Jewish institutions in our 3 counties are already working on improving security with other Jewish organizations in NJ.  We all welcome the opportunity to enhance what we have in place through this new partnership.”

"The Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County is proud to expand our partnerships with New York and New Jersey Federations as well as our colleagues at ADL and CSS in this endeavor,” said Ari Rosenblum, CEO of the Jewish Federation and foundation of Rockland County “We are stronger, more capable, more adaptable and more secure when we work together. We look forward to sharing best practices developed in building our local security initiative, and learning from the experiences of our partners."

“With the rise of antisemitism, it is incumbent upon us an organization that equips and empowers the Jewish community across the country to protect itself, to closely partner with local and national organizations, as no one entity can tackle hate alone,” said Evan R. Bernstein, National Director and CEO of CSS. “In the current security environment of heightened awareness, it is critical to forge new local partnerships and further our existing national accords with ADL’s Center on Extremism and the Secure Community Network (SCN). Our Northeastern Division leadership and network of trained security volunteers stand ready to work within this new alliance to ensure better communication and coordination with the ultimate goal of improving our safety outcomes.”

“The past year has seen multiple, serious threats against Jewish communal institutions in New York and New Jersey, some of which could have proven far more lethal had it not been for the diligent joint work of our community partners and law enforcement,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “These threats serve as a reminder that we must remain vigilant against future attacks, which is why it is so important for our communal organizations to be working as closely together as possible on issues of security.”

“This announcement formalizes the strong, existing partnerships between our organizations and will enable us to serve our communities more effectively,” said Scott Richman, Director of ADL’s New York/New Jersey Region. “By joining forces, our organizations will be able to improve our communal security and respond more efficiently to potential threats.”

“Enhancing security coordination across our contiguous state borders will benefit both our communities and coordination with law enforcement,” said Hindy Poupko, Deputy Chief Planning Officer, UJA-Federation of New York.

“As CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC-NY),” noted Gideon Taylor, “I am very pleased to see this collaborative partnership involving CSI working with Jewish federations across the region to better secure our communities.”


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