Taking Local Security to Heart with New Resources

For the past several years, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven has monitored our community’s security concerns through strong relationships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. We witnessed the deadly mass shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway. We endured the telephonic bomb threats to the JCC. We removed the swastikas and rebuilt in response to vandalism. Most importantly, the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation offered tools and resources to our community to help increase the sense of security for all of us as well as assist them as they seek federal nonprofit security grant funding.

In addition to securing our Jewish community campus, the Jewish Federation has served as a resource to many of our agencies, schools and synagogues, offering security trainings and helping to secure state grants for houses of worship in Connecticut. In December, the Connecticut State Bond Commission released $5 million in state bonding to allow nonprofit organizations like synagogues, mosques and churches to seek a competitive state grant to help them fortify themselves against terrorist attacks and hate crimes, or to pay for recent security improvements they have made. The Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut led this advocacy effort, which also included the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.

Complementing these efforts, the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven awarded $260,000 in security grants in 2020 from its Arthur Eder Family Fund in memory of Arthur and Yvette Eder to 18 local synagogues, day schools, the JCC and Camp Laurelwood.

In addition, the Jewish Federation system, with its Washington office in the lead, worked tirelessly to help our legislators understand why their support for funding is so critical. As a direct result, the funding levels have recently doubled from $90 million to $180 million.

"While these measures are significant, they are certainly not enough,” commented Evan Wyner, Vice President of Security and Facilities on the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven’s Board of Directors. “Pittsburgh, Poway, and Halle taught us that our responsibility had become far greater than ever before. We must be expertly prepared and in order to achieve optimum security, we must collaborate and work together as one community.”

In March 2021, the board of directors agreed to join with several Connecticut Federations and hire a full-time Regional Security Advisor (RSA). Each congregation, agency, facility, kosher establishment and Chabad house will be served through the development and implementation of strategic frameworks, best practice policies and procedures, threat and vulnerability assessments, training and education, safety and security matters, and crisis management support during critical incidents.

The security director will be hired through Secure Community Network (SCN). As the official safety and security organization of the North American Jewish community, SCN will also benefit our community through their security and intelligence resources, trusted best practices, training opportunities, facility assessments, and the vast knowledge and experience of its current and former military and law enforcement experts.

“Security was indicated as a top priority for our community in a recent community survey we conducted, and it is certainly a top priority for our Jewish Federation. We take this step with a strong sense of mission and responsibility for our community and look forward to a fruitful collaboration with all the facets of our Jewish community,” said Judy Alperin, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.

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