August 2, 2023

Security Town Hall to Ensure a Safe Holiday Season

Dorit Zimerman Security Grant Consultant

As the High Holidays approach, our communities prepare to come together to celebrate and connect with our faith, traditions, and one another. This is a very special and sacred time in Judaism, which brings with it reflection and togetherness, but also trepidation due to the rise in antisemitism and thereby apprehension over our safety and security. To address these concerns, Federation’s Community Security Initiative team is hosting a virtual town hall meeting on August 22, to discuss strategies for securing synagogues during this busy time.  

The meeting will begin with a presentation by Laurie Doran, Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) and one of her analysts, about the threat landscape of New Jersey and an assessment of the current state of antisemitism. Director Doran serves as the federally designated Homeland Security Advisor to Governor Murphy and is the cabinet-led executive responsible for coordinating and leading New Jersey’s Counterterrorism, Cybersecurity, and Emergency Preparedness efforts. It is a privilege to have someone of her caliber and expertise join us, especially as NJOHSP has stated that homegrown and violent extremists and white racially motivated extremists are currently the highest terrorist threat to New Jersey.  

Federation’s Chief Security Officer, Thomas “Chip” Michaels and Director of Security Training, Greg Drucks, will discuss best practices for securing synagogues. This includes ensuring that safety, security, and emergency plans and procedures are up to date and in practice; that appropriate training has taken place; and that the community has a sense of heightened awareness, where everyone remains vigilant and cognizant of any suspicious activities. And I, as the Security Grant Consultant, will give an overview of the grant cycles offered by the federal and state governments and how these can help towards target hardening your facilities.  

Ultimately, securing our synagogues is an ongoing effort that requires commitment and participation, and we are excited to provide synagogue executives with this opportunity to share concerns, ask questions, and learn how the Community Security Initiative Team can assist them. Together, we can create a safer environment for all during the High Holidays and beyond.