NEW YORK CITY (September 26, 2019) — Today, UJA-Federation of New York, in partnership with The Paul E. Singer Foundation, Carolyn and Marc Rowan and several foundations, announced a new $4 million investment to enhance the physical security of more than 2,000 New York Jewish institutions across the five boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester. The new security effort is a collaboration between UJA-Federation, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC-NY) and Westchester Jewish Council.
The security plan includes the hiring of seven new full-time security professionals who will oversee needs across the New York area. Five security directors will be based locally in Long Island, Westchester, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan to meet the needs of these respective regions, with a new central director coordinating all efforts. Each regional director will be responsible for facilitating security assessments required for accessing government funding, assisting under-resourced organizations with government grant procurement, offering emergency procedure trainings, coordinating with local and federal law enforcement and the Jewish Federations of North America’s Secure Community Network (SCN), and more. A new professional will also support the specific security needs at New York’s Jewish day camps and residential camps. In addition, funds will be used to enhance a notification system to alert institutions in real time about possible threats.
As of August 2019, New York Police Department statistics showed a 41 percent increase overall in hate crimes in the last year; over 50 percent were anti-Semitic in nature.
“In a year in which 12 people were murdered simply for being Jewish, and dozens attacked right here in New York, we’re committed to enhancing the security infrastructure for Jewish institutions across the New York area,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO, UJA-Federation of New York.
“Securing Jewish communal institutions has been an important element of JCRC-NY’s mission since its founding. Unfortunately, each year the need grows. We are deeply grateful to UJA-Federation and the other funders who are providing significant resources so that we can guide our community’s organizations with expert advice and best practices,” said Michael S. Miller, executive vice president and CEO, JCRC-NY.
UJA has actively worked for many years, primarily with JCRC-NY, to help secure Jewish institutions in New York. These efforts focused heavily on governmental advocacy and grantmaking. In the wake of the tragedies in Pittsburgh and Poway, UJA allocated additional funding to help nearly 200 organizations obtain professional security assessments, a critical step in qualifying for government funding. Additionally, UJA funds provided bridge loans for those institutions that were given security grants but couldn’t afford to pay for security enhancements upfront while awaiting reimbursement from the government. At the same time, UJA’s advocacy efforts helped move New York State to provide $45 million in new funding to secure vulnerable institutions, including child care centers, nonpublic schools, as well as residential and day camps; and working with JFNA, UJA helped secure total of $60 million earmarked for security nationwide.
New York City, Long Island, and Westchester are home to roughly 1.5 million Jews, the largest community of Jews outside of Israel. This plan was developed in consultation with security experts and other large Jewish communities in the United States.
“Balancing our desire to welcome all with open arms with the need to protect ourselves is no easy task. We can’t thank the UJA enough for providing the expertise and tools for us to stay secure as we deliver hundreds of programs to thousands of people who need us,” said David Black, executive director, Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center.
“UJA-Federation has always been an outstanding strategic partner for Jewish day schools in the metro New York region. In this era, when a significant amount of institutional time and funding are appropriately dedicated to security training and infrastructure, we are very grateful for the support and guidance that this new program will provide,” said Michael A. Kay, head of school, The Leffell School.
“The Psalmist wrote, ‘May there be peace within your walls.’ Thus as we invite all to enter our communal settings, we must provide them with safe, secure space. We are most grateful to UJA- Federation for making the safety of our people a prioritized concern especially during this period of heightened tensions. We will stand together to confront the scourge of hatred anywhere because we are all family that will steadfastly protect one another,” said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president, New York Board of Rabbis.