ADL Urges Jewish Institutions to 'Think Security' During Jewish High Holidays

New York, NY, September 4, 2018 … In advance of the Jewish High Holidays, ADL is reaching out to synagogues and Jewish community institutions across the country to provide information on security preparedness and to remind them to make security an everyday priority.

Working through its 25 regional offices, ADL has shared a list of security best practices and encouraged institutions to reach out to local law enforcement to discuss security and advise them of High Holiday schedules and events. The Jewish High Holidays begin at sundown on Sunday, September 9, and Rosh Hashanah is observed on Sept. 10 and 11; Yom Kippur is observed from sundown on Tuesday, Sept. 18 to sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

“The run-up to the Jewish holidays, when Jewish institutions are anticipating high attendance at services and events, is a good time for them to take stock of their overall security plan,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Congregants should feel safe going to services. When institutions demonstrate that they take security into consideration in their operations, they can provide an extra layer of comfort for everyone as we enter the holiday period.”

ADL is a longtime leader in providing security awareness and in-person training and online resources to community institutions. ADL’s Community Security resource page and community security manual, “Protecting Your Jewish Institution: Security Strategies for Today’s Dangerous World” are available for free download. A number of ADL’s regional offices have held or are planning security briefings for local institutions, a routine practice for the organization at this time of year.

ADL has sent a list of security recommendations for the High Holidays to synagogues and other Jewish communal institutions. Among the recommendations:

  • Connect with local law enforcement to discuss security and advise them of holiday schedules and events.
  • Ensure that ushers understand that they play a critical role in security matters, as they are often used to control access to the sanctuary and are in a position to spot trouble early.
  • Establish procedures for controlling access to houses of worship, and keeping access to a facility restricted to as few entry points as possible so that all people accessing the facility are greeted and observed.
  • Ensure that existing safety devices are in good working condition. 
  • Ensure that staff, leadership and constituents know their role in security and what to do in the event of an emergency.

While we are not aware of any specific, credible threats to Jewish institutions at this time, an uptick of activities this year associated with far-right extremist and other hate groups have been reported, including white supremacist leafleting, banners on highway overpasses, and public rallies. Last year, ADL tracked a 60 percent surge in anti-Semitic incidents against individuals as well as public and private communal institutions across the United States.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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