Think Security: Can Jewish Institutions Be Secure and Welcoming at the Same Time?

  • September 10, 2012

Why should we think security?

It is a simple and unfortunate fact: Jewish institutions have a special need for security. The Anti-Defamation League recorded over 15,000 anti-Semitic incidents in the last decade alone. Everything from verbal threats to destruction of property to physical assaults ­­ all are part of the risk. And certainly, the recent terrorist attacks and anti-Semitism have heightened our concern.

Jewish institutions worldwide have recognized the vulnerability and the need. So must we. We must think security.

Does security undermine our mission or our activities?

Enhanced security does not have to come at the expense of an open and welcoming environment. And it doesn't have to come at the expense of a balanced budget.

Creating a secure environment is a three-step process: Assessment. Planning. Implementation. It is a process that involves every member of the community. All of us, from leaders to congregants, must learn to think security.

Where to start?

  • Leadership should assess the risks and realities of the institution and develop a security plan ­­ seeking professional guidance, if needed. Of course, not all institutions run the same risk, but all run some risk.
  • Congregants and constituents must care about security and let others know that they do. Active cooperation with security procedures and your powers of observation are two of the most important assets you have.

ADL can help

ADL's commitment to Jewish institutional security awareness is part of our mission. We have materials that can be used by the largest community center or the smallest shul. We have professionals who can provide guidance on security concerns. ADL provides this as a community service.

For additional materials and for our comprehensive Security Awareness Manual, contact your local ADL Regional Office.

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