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Federation Awarded LiveSecure Grant to Enhance Community Security

By Secure Community Network

Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has awarded a substantial security grant through LiveSecure to Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. The matching grant, secured thanks to donations raised by our Federation, will enhance overall security for Jewish organizations all over Atlanta’s metro area.

LiveSecure is a $130 million campaign launched by JFNA in 2021 with the goal of securing every Jewish community across North America and saving lives. It is the largest initiative in history to secure North American Jewish communities.

Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of Jewish Federations of North America, says, “LiveSecure is the collective responsibility of every Jewish community. This campaign is a tremendous investment in our Jewish future, because only when we can safely and freely participate in Jewish communal life can we build flourishing Jewish communities.”

Atlanta’s Jewish community raised $1.5 million in order to receive the full matching grant of $750,000 from LiveSecure. The funds will be used by Federation to hire a dedicated grant writer for non-profit security grant applications, provide security for community-wide events and festivals, begin the initial phase of installing a community-wide panic alarm system, and more.

Neil Rabinovitz, Atlanta’s Community Security Director, says “This grant and subsequent fundraising will enable us to enhance overall security throughout the entire community. We’re so thankful for all the donors who recognized this need to keep the community safe and secure.”

Atlanta’s Jewish organizations (including Federation, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, synagogues, day schools, and other organizations and agencies) are protected by the Secure Community Network (SCN), the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America.  SCN was established by JFNA and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in the aftermath of 9/11 to secure the American Jewish community. Over the last two decades, community security initiatives across the continent, including those managed in partnership with SCN, have saved countless lives and thwarted a multitude of potential threats against Jewish people and institutions.

The LiveSecure grant comes at a timely moment, as we observe the one-year anniversary of the Colleyville hostage crisis. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, of Colleyville’s Congregation Beth Israel, has credited the security training he received through SCN to saving his life, and the other hostage’s lives, during the attack. This grant will ensure that Atlanta’s Jews continue to have access to the highest possible level of security infrastructure.

New Online Form Makes It Easier to Report Threats Against the Jewish Community

By Secure Community Network

Federation is partnering with the Secure Community Network (SCN) to launch an online form for the public to report threats, incidents, and suspicious activity related to the Jewish community. This standardized form will be available nationwide and will ensure a timely and accurate response to any threat against Jewish organizations, facilities, or community members. 

SCN is the official safety and security organization for the Jewish community in North America. Information reported through the form goes immediately to Federation’s security professionals, as well as the 24-hour Duty Desk at SCN’s National Jewish Security Operations Command Center. SCN’s team of intelligence analysts will communicate with local Federation security personnel and determine which people or facilities are at risk, and the appropriate next steps. Credible threats will be referred to local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies, as needed. 

The new form can, and should, be used to report in-person assaults or threats, suspicious activity, vandalism, suspicious packages or letters, antisemitic flyers, threatening phone calls, text messages, or social media posts, or any other incident of concern to the Jewish community. Reports can also be made anonymously.   

The form is available on Federation’s website. Please bookmark it so you can access it quickly if you ever need to do so.  

Eric M. Robbins, President and CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, says, “Our new online reporting form is one of the many ways that Federation is working to protect the Jewish community, along with our partner organizations such as ADL, The American Jewish Committee, and the Jewish Community Relations Council. Together with the Secure Community Network, we urge everyone to report anything suspicious or concerning so the appropriate action can be taken.” 

Atlanta is just one of more than 30 Jewish Federations that will be using this reporting system. “This is the first nationally standardized incident reporting effort that ties together local Federation security initiatives and SCN as a national partner, ensuring that wherever someone is, there can be timely, consistent, and accurate reporting of threats, incidents, and suspicious activity,” said SCN National Director and CEO Michael Masters.  

Masters says, “Through a coordinated, best practice approach to information sharing, this initiative will help us more effectively and efficiently address threats and issues before they turn to action.”  

Please remember that in an emergency, you should always contact 911 first. If you find yourself in a situation where online reporting is not practical, you should follow established protocol to report suspicious activity, including contacting local law enforcement, and/or the SCN Duty Desk at 844-SCN-DESK. 

community security training - jewish atlanta

Federation Helps Jewish Atlanta Receive Security Grants

By Secure Community Network

community security training - jewish atlantaDid you know that Federation’s Community-Wide Security Program protects the entire Atlanta Jewish community? Jewish Day schools, camps, synagogues, and more benefit from the expertise and assistance of the national partnership with Secure Community Network (SCN). In 2022, Federation helped many local organizations secure grants from the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which will help keep Jewish Atlanta safe throughout the year.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) is an initiative through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It provides support for physical security enhancements and activities, including planning and training, to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of terrorist attack due to their ideology, beliefs, or mission.

NSGP funds are historically allocated based on criteria including threat and/or hazard assessments, identification and substantiation of prior threats or attacks (or closely related organizations), and the symbolic value of a site as a highly recognized national or historical institution which could render the location a possible target of terrorism.

In 2022, Federation’s Community-Wide Security Program assisted 25 Atlanta Jewish organizations with the application process, resulting in a total award to the community of $2.3M for security enhancements to their buildings.

Our assistance included conducting required security assessments of their facilities, conducting webinars, discussing best practices for completing the application, reviewing applications and making recommendations for improvement, and consultations concerning the application process.

Thank you to Neil Rabinovitz, Federation’s Community Security Director, and Bryan Underwood, Deputy Community Security Director, for helping these vital organizations receive this funding!

Security and Preparedness for the High Holidays

By Secure Community Network

Neil Rabinowitz, Federation’s Community Security Director, recently spoke with the Atlanta Jewish Times about how synagogues are preparing for the increased traffic of the High Holidays. Neil’s position not only covers the safety and security of Federation, but for all of Atlanta’s Jewish organizations.  

He and Deputy Security Director Bryan Underwood have conducted security assessments at Atlanta’s synagogues, and they have words of comfort for those who might be worried about safety during upcoming services. “Specific to Atlanta, there’s no elevated threat level other than what we’re seeing nationwide,” Neil says.  

Still, antisemitic attacks are on the rise nationally, and while there are no specific Atlanta threats to be wary of, community members should stay alert. Neil stresses the importance of situational awareness and encourages people to notify the authorities if they notice anything suspicious.  

Federation is offering free online security training to anyone who wishes to attend. Countering Active Threat Training is tonight, September at 7 PM. Click here to register. 

Federation’s Community-Wide Security Program is funded by the Partners Fund. The money granted to them is used to protect Jewish Day schools, camps, synagogues, and more. When you give to Federation’s Community Campaign, you’re ensuring that every member of Jewish ATL can live a life free from fear. 

To read the full interview with the AJT, click here 

Free Security Training for Jewish ATL

By Secure Community Network

At the end of August, Federation’s Community-Wide Security Program is offering two virtual classes designed to educate our community on proper safety protocols in emergencies. These seminars are meant for all members of the Atlanta Jewish community and are intended to enhance our collective security. 

“Be Aware: An Introduction to Situational Awareness” will be offered on August 23 at 7 pm. In this lesson, you’ll be given techniques to develop enhanced perception in your daily life. You’ll learn how to identify security threats, report suspicious activity, and advocate for safety in your community. 

Over 400 people recently attended the online security training module “Countering an Active Threat” conducted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Community Security Director, Neil Rabinovitz. This class will be offered again on August 30 at 7 pm and covers topics like how to prepare mentally and physically for an emergency and steps you can take if you find yourself in the middle of an active threat.  

Looking out for each other’s safety is imperative, especially now. Antisemitic attacks are on the rise in the U.S., but we are not powerless to stop them. Be sure to sign up for your free training class and learn how you can uphold the security of Jewish ATL.  

Click here to register for these free online courses. 

Bryan - jewish atlanta

Welcome Our New Deputy Security Director

By Secure Community Network

Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta is pleased to welcome our new Deputy Community Security Director, Bryan Underwood! Bryan comes to us with an extensive background in law enforcement and we are thrilled to have him.

Bryan served for 25 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He performed tours of duty in Kansas City, Washington, St. Louis, Memphis, and Louisville. In 2015, he retired from the FBI as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Louisville Division. Bryan then served for six years as the Assistant Vice President and Director of Law Enforcement for the Eighth District of the Federal Reserve.

At Federation, he will help administer security programs not only for our organization, but for the larger Atlanta Jewish Community. His work will help protect schools, daycare centers, synagogues, camps, assisted living facilities, and other centers of Jewish life.

Bryan holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Bible from Lipscomb University and a juris doctor degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. We are so pleased to have him on our team!

Jewish Atlanta Turns Out in Big Numbers for Security Training

By COMMUNITY, Secure Community Network

420 people attended an online security training, Countering an Active Threat, presented on Sunday by Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Neil Rabinovitz, Community Security Director, conducted the training, along with Jimi Horne, Deputy Community Security Director.

The training educated participants on how to commit to action if they encounter any type of active threat. There was a review of best practices including:

  • The definition of an active threat
  • Knowing the difference between security and safety
  • Learning the three modes of action in an active shooter incident: RUN, HIDE, FIGHT
  • Understand how to prepare for an active threat
  • The importance of additional training

One recent participant in the security trainings explains how it was memorable and how it helped them:

The information was easy to understand and there were clear suggestions on how to react to an active shooter situation.

It was so helpful to see and hear from someone who survived the Tree of Life shooting and the actions he took that saved his life. That was very compelling and memorable. Seeing videos of active shooter situations and hearing the comments of the security trainer was very helpful.

For information about upcoming security trainings, or to request a no-charge security assessment of your facility, visit Federation’s Security Planning page.

Community-Wide Security Program Update

By COMMUNITY, Secure Community Network

Community-Wide Security Program Update
By Neil Rabinovitz, Community Security Director

As we approach the 2021 Department of Homeland Security Non-Profit Security Grant (NSGP) cycle, Federation’s Community-Wide Security Program has been busy assisting and supporting our community organizations with their grant applications. The NSGP program supports physical security enhancements and other security-related activities for nonprofit organizations that are at a high risk of a terrorist attack. This year, the total amount of funding available for the NSGP program has doubled from $90 million in 2020 to $180 million, with each applicant permitted to apply for up to $150,000 per site which is great news for our community. The 2021 NSGP application period is open now and grant awards will be announced in September.

In previous years, NSGP awards to our synagogues, Jewish day schools, and other organizations have made it possible for them to install security enhancements such as security cameras, vehicle access gates, duress alarms and other target hardening security measures.

In an effort to assist the community to better understand the application process, Community-Wide Security Program convened an NSGP workshop for all our organizations in early January. We also included representatives from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency at the workshop. This gave the participating organizations the chance to have their questions answered by the same people who will be reviewing their applications.

Prior to applying for a grant, organizations are required to complete a Threat Vulnerability & Risk Assessment.  As a Federation-provided resource to the community, the Community-Wide Security Program has been conducting these comprehensive physical security assessments at no cost to our organizations. The assessments can be completed at any time during the year and provide each organization with an individualized, prioritized long-term security improvement plan.

Through Federation’s partnership with the Secure Community Network (SCN), the Community-Wide Security Program has also made available to all our organizations a series of webinars detailing best practice guidance and recommendations for completing the NSGP application.

The Community-Wide Security Program also remains hard at work on other priorities as well.  In spite of the pandemic, we have continued to provide valuable training to the community. Since the fall, we have conducted nine Countering Active Threat training classes and have trained nearly 200 members of the community. It is our goal to train as many members of the community as possible in this potentially life-saving training.

Additionally, thanks to a generous donor to the Security Program, we are able to provide to every organization five life-saving Stop-the-Bleed kits at no cost to the organization. To date, we have distributed over 100 kits. The kits will continue to be distributed to all organizations over the coming months.

Looking forward, as vaccines become increasingly available, and organizations work to assess security needs in their physical spaces as they reopen, SCN will release a new, updated version of the previously released Overview of Considerations for Resumption of Operations and Organizational Reopening. This will be an easy-to-use guide that provides the main questions and considerations that organizations and facilities should take into account when considering reopening.

To schedule a free security assessment, Countering Active Threat training, or to discuss the other training courses available to your organization, please contact Community Security Director Neil Rabinovitz.

Emergency Training Saves Lives

By CARING, COMMUNITY, Secure Community Network

Thanks to a generous donor, Federation’s Community-Wide Security Program will now provide free Stop The Bleed kits to each of our community organizations. The kits will be strategically placed throughout their facilities so that in an emergency, any person can render aid before a professional first-responder arrives. A person who is bleeding can die of blood loss within a few minutes so knowing how to control bleeding can truly save lies.

To receive their free kits, organizations must agree to participate in our free Stop the Bleed Training and Countering Active Threat Training. Both classes are offered through Federation’s partnership with the Secure Community Network and are led by Neil Rabinovitz, Community Security Director, and Zach Williams, Deputy Community Security Director. Training can be done either in person (in accordance with current CDC COVID-19 guidelines), or virtually if preferred.

Training builds community resilience. We want to train our community to “Commit to Action” if faced with any type of active threat, including an active shooter. In multiple active threat incidents, from Pittsburgh to Monsey, survivors have credited training with saving lives. For additional information on the training classes or to schedule training, contact Neil Rabinovitz or Zach Williams.