Three phrases, heard more and more throughout the Jewish heart of NJ reflect the seriousness with which the Jewish Federation has taken on its leadership role in helping the Jewish community and its interfaith neighbors with security concerns.
- Facility assessments help organizations understand their vulnerabilities.
- Active Intruder and Resiliency Trainings help people develop emergency prevention, prepared-ness, and response strategies.
- The Federation Security Task Force shares information and resources from law enforcement and public safety authorities with synagogues and other Jewish and interfaith organizations.
For several years, the Federation Security Task Force has offered hands-on support to every Jewish organization throughout Monmouth and Greater Middlesex applying for Homeland Security and other government security grants. On behalf of the organizations who took advantage of that help, the Federation has been instrumental in generating more than $3 million in security enhancements to more than 60 Jewish organizations. According to Susan Antman, the Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ’s Executive Director, “Because the Federation invests in communal security, every synagogue, every Jewish school, cultural institution, and community center has access to resources that would not be avail-able to them on their own.”
Whether applying security grant funds or going through security training, houses of worship and community organizations must balance security precautions with remaining welcoming to worshipers, members, and visitors.
Stuart Brown, Executive Director of Manalapan’s Temple Shaari Emeth, says, “We know we must have secure access, so our response is both prac-tical and nuanced. We keep our eyes open and ‘wear our seat belts,’ so to speak. And we have a really good relationship with the Manalapan police.” According to Amy Keller, the Jewish Federation’s Director of Security Initiatives, “The key is understanding how to intelligently achieve that delicate balance between openness and vigilance.” She added, “Going forward, more organizations will think about security as they now think of smoke detectors or fire drills, part of standard operations. As they do, the Jewish Federation will connect our community with the security resources needed.”
For example, recent Federation advocacy efforts resulted in the State of NJ approving and funding new bills doubling security funding for non-public K-12 school students, such as those attending Jewish day school. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and visit jewishheartnj.org/security.
READ MORE STORIES FROM OUR SPRING 2019 NEWSLETTER HERE.