In Light of Sikh Shooting, Thinking About Synagogue Security
Yesterday’s horrifying and tragic mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee is a sad, startling reminder for people of faith that our houses of worship are not always as safe as we may feel in them. With the High Holy Days fast approaching, we want to remind you that the Reform Movement is committed to helping congregations become more secure and remains in ongoing contact with law enforcement officials, including the FBI, and will share with you any helpful information we receive. Below, a few suggestions for congregations from our Synagogue Security page:
- It is essential that every congregation have security guidelines and procedures in place. Check our Congregational Security and Safety section for information specific to Jewish institutions, and review the General Security Preparedness section for information from federal agencies.
- Familiarize yourself with None Shall Make Them Afraid: Thinking About Congregational Security, a briefing offering suggestions for making congregants feel safe and secure while participating in congregational life.
- In January of 2012, the URJ hosted a Synagogue Security conference call for congregations in the vicinity of Bergen County, NJ, which had been experiencing a series of acts of anti-Semitism. Speakers on the call included Michael Ward (Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Newark field office) and Patrick Daly (Deputy Director of SCN: Secure Community Network). You can listen to a recording of that call online.
- Browse our Communicate! Program Bank to find programs successfully implemented in URJ congregations. Use the key words “safety” or “security” to find examples of congregational emergency manuals and security procedures.
- The Department of Homeland Security’s Religious Facilities Report provides infrastructure protection reports on religious facilities.
Keep an eye on our Synagogue Security page for future updates, and as always, stay tuned to this blog for future updates on issues of critical importance to congregations and members.