Securing our Jewish Community

Or call JFGI at (317) 726-5450

As I begin thinking about 2020 and starting the Jewish new year, I look back one year ago on the attack on three Pittsburgh congregations. This incident was the worst targeted attack on the Jewish community in the history of our country. Months later, we saw the attack in Poway, Calif. on another synagogue. In considering these attacks, I am – and have been – looking at ways that we can strengthen security throughout our Jewish community.

Over the past several years, Jewish communities locally, and around the world, have been shaken by acts of violence toward Jewish people, organizations and places of worship. According to the FBI, hate crimes against the Jewish community are at their highest level in decades: 58% of all religiously motivated hate crimes are directed against our community…over three times higher than the next group. Over the last year and a half, we have taken seriously what’s happened at home and in other communities in the United States.

I want you to know that security has been and continues to be of the utmost importance to the Jewish Federation. We cannot control where the next incident of hatred may occur, but we can choose how prepared we are to deter and respond to any such incident.

With the recent rise in this activity and based on feedback we have heard from you, I am pleased to announce that we are in the process of instituting a Community Security program, on behalf of our entire Jewish community. This program will be led by a new Regional Security Director, who we will be hiring in the near future. We are undertaking this effort in partnership with Secure Community Network (SCN).

SCN, a non-profit organization and an initiative of Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community. In addition to serving as the community official liaison with federal law enforcement, and working closely with state and local law enforcement, SCN works to implement best practice security programs on behalf of Jewish institutions and communities across the U.S.

By partnering with SCN, we will ensure that our program is consistent with best practices that have been developed both nationally and internationally, while providing the expertise of a national organization comprised of law enforcement, security and military professionals to support our Security Advisor and their work.

Our dedicated security professional, coordinating through SCN, will develop programs that will oversee:

  • Facility assessments
  • Security planning and preparedness
  • Communication strategies
  • Training for all community institutions including:
    • Synagogues
    • Day schools
    • Community centers
    • Residential facilities
    • Camps
    • Social service providers
    • And other organizations
  • Incident response

The Indianapolis Regional Security Director will join a critical network of more than 45 other security professionals across the Jewish Federation system.

This position will serve the entire Jewish community, and the Jewish Federation is partnering with most of our agencies and synagogues; all of whom have already made a financial commitment to this undertaking. But even with some resources committed, we need to raise more funds to bring this effort to fruition. We cannot do this without your help. Please join us in this effort and donate to Jewish community security by making a gift directed to this security initiative through the Annual Campaign.

As we work to ensure that every Jewish organization in our community is as safe and welcoming as possible, we also want everyone to focus on celebrating community stories and how our programs, scholarships, education, engagement, and events positively affect all of the generations that make up our community.

Or call JFGI at (317) 726-5450



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