Help us lead the efforts to ensure a more secure Jewish Buffalo.
Secure jewish buffalo
A wake up Call
The dramatic increase in hate incidents and anti-Semitic harassment worldwide has left many in the Jewish community feeling threatened to a level not experienced since pre-War Europe. A recent ADL report shows a 57% increase in anti-Semitism since 2016. Earlier this month, at the Anti-Defamation League “Never is Now” anti-Semitism Summit, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said that “Anti-Semitism is becoming normalized. This past year we saw a record number of explicit and unapologetic extremists and bigots running on the ballot in campaigns on all levels. And we have seen a shocking surge of anti-Semitism on campus….”
In Jewish communities large and small, the uptick in anti-Semitism, is forcing Jewish organizations to reassess the way it ensures the safety of community members, and Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life massacre in late October was a wake-up call that we are no longer immune to such heinous acts of violence.
The bottom line for Jewish Buffalo and other communities like ours is that the world has changed and we need to be better prepared for the worst.
nearly 75% have never participated in any active shooter training
The Buffalo Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Center hosted a meeting for synagogue and agency leadership on November 19, 2018 to provide an opportunity to discuss local security concerns and ways that organizations may work collaboratively to ensure the safety of Jewish Buffalo.
Leadership was invited to take a short intake survey to better understand the issues and to catalogue what is already being done in the community. The survey results were at best sobering as less than 40% of the 18 Jewish organizations who completed the survey have security systems in place, less than 30% have evacuation plans in place, and nearly 75% have never participated in any active shooter training for their staff or leadership.
Most of our communal organizations, particularly many of the smaller synagogues, are vulnerable to attacks and woefully ill-prepared and for a situation like that in Pittsburgh.
A new plan
Buffalo Jewish Federation has been engaged in conversations with the Secure Community Network (SCN) and other like-sized communities to determine how best to secure Jewish Buffalo. One immediate course of action is to hire a dedicated community security professional who would provide direction and maintain oversight for the organization, development, control, and monitoring of the Jewish community’s security operations and programs. This individual would also serve as a liaison during crisis response and mitigation efforts, assisting local incident commanders and/or serve as an incident commander during crisis response and mitigation efforts if requested and/or required.
In addition to hiring a professional, a bundle of resources needs to be raised to enable the professional to address some of the immediate needs of our Jewish facilities, in particular Houses of Worship, whether that includes the installation of cameras, more modern access systems, or to provide basic training to clergy and volunteer leadership.
The Time is Now
Perhaps the greatest threat to the Jewish community is amnesia, when we forget about Pittsburgh and are lured into a false sense of security.
That is why the time is critical – the time is now – to raise the funds necessary to address immediate security needs and to provide a trained professional to lead the efforts to ensure a more secure Jewish Buffalo.