July 2020 -- Tammuz-Av 5780,  Volume 26, Issue 7

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New Initiative to Protect Jewish Communities

In the wake of the violent attacks against Jewish targets in Pittsburgh, Poway, Jersey City and Monsey, during 2018-2019, the UJA Federation of New York (UJA) and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY) created a new security initiative to better protect the Jewish communities in the greater NYC area.


The Community Security Initiative is a multi-year program, which covers Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and the five counties of New York City. Its goal is to enhance security by: improving the physical security of institutions, providing staff training, providing threat intelligence, assisting with assessments and grant applications, enabling connectivity with law enforcement and supplying real-time communications system that links the Jewish institutions in our region as part of an Emergency communications system.


The executive director of the Community Security Initiative is Mitchell D. Silber, the former Director of Intelligence Analysis at the NYPD. He and his team of five regional security managers are charged with working directly with Jewish institutions and city, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to address the threats facing New York’s Jewish community.


The Community Security Initiative has divided its area of responsibility into five regions, each with a regional manager:  Westchester/Bronx • Manhattan/Staten Island • Brooklyn • Queens • Nassau/Suffolk.  William J. Hayes is the Westchester/Bronx Security Manager.


Silber will lead the team of five new security professionals to help provide the highest level of protection to Jewish institutions in New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. This will include developing the infrastructure to support and train professionals in synagogues, Jewish community centers, and schools.


The New York Jewish community is home to approximately 1.5 million Jews and 2,000 Jewish institutions, including synagogues, schools, camps, and other Jewish facilities. In September 2019, UJA and JCRC-NY announced the $4 million investment to enhance the physical security of these facilities. The plan was developed in consultation with security experts and other large Jewish communities in the United States. UJA has worked for many years, primarily with JCRC-NY, to help secure Jewish institutions in New York.


The Community Security Initiative is a joint program of the UJA Federation, JCRC-NY, and Westchester Jewish Council.