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Security Update - Tevet 5780/January 2020

Over the past year, and particularly in the last weeks of December, American Jewry has experienced an uptick in antisemitic acts that forces us to rethink how we manage the safety of Jewish congregations. The Board of Directors at Emek Beracha takes the security of our community seriously, and our security committee has taken several steps to ensure public safety. Some of those steps include:

► Engaging an experienced safety consultant, Elhanan Abrams, to advise us on security matters. Elhanan is part of the security intelligence team at LinkedIn, was previously an intelligence analyst at Pinkerton, and currently consults for several congregations in the US. In addition to working with us on several matters, Elhanan will be hosting emergency training for our community (dates to be confirmed soon).

► Hiring an armed security guard to man the front of the shul during Shabbat and holidays. We are stepping up protection of the shul and have brought on a second guard to help monitor the premises to better safeguard the property. We are also evaluating additional security guard providers.

► Applying for a security grant from the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program. If granted, the funding will allow us to effect significant improvements to the safety of the shul, including the construction of an outer perimeter to the property, hardening the inner perimeter of the shul, and generally improving emergency preparedness.


While the grant will be helpful if we get it, we believe that the time to act is now, and that security is the responsibility of all community members. In that vein, we are kicking off a short-term fundraising campaign to secure $30,000, which will be spent on near-term improvements highlighted as high priority by our consultant. These include the hiring of the second security guard and the installation of a reinforced security door in the front of the building. To meet our goal, we ask that each member contribute a minimum of $250.  You can donate here.

In addition to stepping up our guard presence, we are looking to restart our Shabbat Greeter program.  The volunteer greeters will help the guard get more familiar with regular shul members and allow for our second guard to patrol the perimeter more freely.  As we know from previous years, this program is only possible with the help of multiple volunteers. The role is fairly straight forward, requiring ~30 minutes of time; the frequency of the rotation will depend on the number of volunteers.  One cannot overstate the importance of this role.  Please sign up in this Google form. We reiterate: Security for the shul is the responsibility of everyone.

People have noted that the front door is sometimes left open, including when there is nobody in the building. In the interim, as we plan for the new door, we request that all community members leaving services or other community events ensure that the door is locked when no one is left in the building.

Emek Beracha Security Committee
Abe Bassan, Linda Diamond, Morad Mahpour and Carl Nash

Thu, January 21 2021 8 Shevat 5781