In the months since the October 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue attack, we have been sharing resources with Reconstructionist communities that address questions of how to make our synagogues safer while also upholding Jewish values of racial justice, interfaith community building, and equity. This page gathers together what we’ve shared so far with our educators, executive directors and presidents.
As part of these efforts, Reconstructing Judaism has co-sponsored a variety of webinars organized by a range of different Jewish communal organizations, reflecting different perspectives on some of the practical and ethical issues involved in developing or improving synagogue safety plans. While we’re sharing slides and handouts here, due to the sensitive nature of these discussions, we’re not linking to the webinar recordings directly from this page. At the bottom of this page, you’ll find instructions for accessing all of the webinar recordings mentioned below.
- Nov. 1, 2018 – ADL resources for educating on issues relating to Pittsburgh, including anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant hatred, and confronting the challenges of white nationalism in the US: https://www.adl.org/blog/a-prayer-for-pittsburgh. Elsie Jarvis Wilson at the ADL is willing to help synagogues identify local law enforcement contacts who may be able to help develop or improve existing synagogue safety and crisis response plans. She can be reached at 202-261-4612 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Nov. 2, 2018 – Video of webinar led by ADL and Secure Communities Network addressing multiple security issues, including threat assessment regarding white nationalist extremist groups.
- Nov. 2, 2018 – “Notes From the Field: After a Shul Shooting, Keeping Our Multiracial Jewish Community Safe,” by Ilana Kaufman, Director of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative. To reach the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative and Ilana, please email: email@example.com.
- Nov. 2, 2018 – Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) has a Community Safety Pledge focused on approaches to community safety planning that prefer alternatives to investing in increased police presence and armed security.
- Jan. 24, 2019 – From a webinar called “The Cost of Security: Tips for Accessing Synagogue Security Funding, we shared out a PDF of specific contacts, state-by-state, of government officials who can provide information about the possibility of accessing Homeland Security grant funds for synagogue security, which you can find here. Also, we shared out a summary of the Protective Security Advisor Program of the Dept of Homeland Security, which you can find here.
- Jan. 24, 2019 – From a webinar called “Balancing Security with Commitment to Inclusiveness and Equity, sponsored by the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, we shared the link to the video recording of the webinar, as well as a resource list from the organizers of the webinar with many links. One of those resources is this piece by Stefan Lynch, the president of one of our affiliates, Kol Tzedek in Philadelphia.
- Feb. 27, 2019 – From a webinar called “Creating a Mission-Driven Security Plan,” also addressing issues of equity and Jewish values as part of the safety planning process, we shared a link to the video of the presentation by Rabbi Leora Kaye and Rachel Hall and a link to the slides they used.
- March 28, 2019 – From a webinar called “Preparing for the next synagogue crisis: talking ‘tachlis’ (practical knowledge) with people who know,” we shared this link to several PDFs from the webinar, and a private link to the recording of the webinar. The main presenter was David Friedman, VP of Law Enforcement & Community Security (https://www.adl.org/who-we-are/leadership/staff/david-friedman). He is someone who you can contact directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions about crisis preparedness.
- April 27, 2019 – we shared this link to a set of online resources developed and collected by JTeach from the Bureau of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago addressing Jewish educators with advice about working with children and families following violent attacks on parts of the Jewish community.
- September 11, 2019 – In advance of the High Holy Days, the Secure Community Network shared its SCN High Holiday Security Tool-Kit. Below are links to materials they’ve prepared for synagogues:
- 2019 High Holiday Security Planning Checklist
- Community Guide for Working with Law Enforcement
- Low-Cost Security Measures for Jewish Facilities
- Facility Self-Assessment Document
- Greeter/Usher Training Program (to ask for training from SCN, write to email@example.com)
- Pocket Emergency Procedure Cards
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security Action Guides (SCN Co-branded)
To obtain links to any of the webinar recordings mentioned here, please contact Rabbi Maurice Harris (MHarris@ReconstructingJudaism.org).