Protecting Cleveland’s Houses of Worship

Tags: Federation, PR, Security, Video

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Faith-based communities across the country have been facing a growing threat from xenophobia, bigotry, and hatred. The Jewish Federation of Cleveland, in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and U.S. Attorney’s Office, hosted a security training session open to all Cleveland faith-based communities, called “Protecting Your House of Worship.”

“The Federation has always been one of the leaders in security for its institutions and its community for a good number of years,” said Barnett Bookatz, Chair of Federation’s Security Committee. “Now we’re beginning to educate the community of Greater Cleveland on what they need to know about security.”

Attendees of this two-hour training session learned advanced prevention planning strategies, as well as best-practice security protocols and procedures that are being utilized across the country. “By sharing ideas, and by sharing plans and preparation, we know that everyone will be better off,” said Justin Herdman, United States Attorney for Ohio’s Northern District. “It does say quite a bit about our community that everybody was here under one roof in one room for two hours getting this information from the Department of Justice, the FBI, and our local law enforcement.”

This interactive training incorporated situation-specific examples, such as an “active shooter” scenario as well as simple things everyone can be aware of and look out for. “We need to start building communities and building trust, and that’s building trust with your law enforcement - both at the local level and the federal level. But also trust within the community,” said Bryan Smith, FBI Assistant Special Agent. “These communities may be across faiths and across different ethnic origins. But that engagement will help better protect each other.”

“Hate attacks everyone," noted Jeremy Papas, Former Regional Director with the Anti-Defamation League. “It’s not something that just attacks the Jewish people, or attacks the Christian people, or the Muslim people. For us to be able to do this together, where we learn how to keep our places of worship safe together, is such a strong element of what this community is all about.”

To learn more about how the Federation is protecting and securing our community, contact Oren Baratz at obaratz@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2788.

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