As you know, the past few months have seen an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents across the nation - including bomb threats right here in Greater Hartford. Our Federation's mission is to protect and enhance the well-being of Jews locally, in Israel and around the world. As such, there are a number of things we are doing to address our community's need for security:
- Our Federation serves as a convener to coordinate security efforts across our local Jewish agencies, schools and synagogues. We're working with our colleagues at the Mandell JCC, local Day Schools and synagogues, and other partners to make sure our response plans are aligned with security best practices and that we are in sync with local law enforcement. We have also been meeting with all of our partners to discuss how best to address the emotional toll of threats against our community.
- Last year our Federation applied for and received a total of $120,000 in grants from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford to help our partner agencies and synagogues upgrade their security programs and practices. Through Annual Campaign allocations and grantwriting, we have been assisting our partner agencies and synagogues with security concerns since 1999.
- Federation has cultivated strong relationships with law enforcement authorities in Hartford and West Hartford. The Hartford Police Department has increased patrols in our Jewish cemeteries, and Federation staff has doubled the frequency of our safety checks on the cemeteries. We're also securing locks and fixing gate hinges that have begun to deteriorate with age. And we have established relationships with cemetery neighbors, who are also helping us look out for these sacred places.
- Our Federation is part of a national system of Federations around the country under the auspices of the Jewish Federations of North America. Together, we apply best practices across many areas including security. JFNA sponsors the Secure Community Network (SCN), which is exclusively dedicated to the safety and security of Jewish institutions and communities across the country. Last week SCN established a new National Security Advisory Council specifically to address the rise in anti-Semitic incidents; members include former high-ranking officials from the Department of Homeland Security.
A number of you have asked what you can do to help in these challenging times.
- We encourage you to contact your local and national elected officials and speak out about your concerns. On our website we offer a Jewish Community Relations Guide that includes tips for contacting your elected officials, contact information for elected officials in our Federation's service area, advice for writing an op-ed, and a variety of Jewish news feeds to help you stay informed.
- Your support of Federation through the Annual Campaign helps to ensure our security, community relations, and advocacy work as well as dozens of programs that enrich Jewish life here and around the world.
By working together, we can combat fear, disruption, and hatred and ensure a safer environment for the Jewish people and our neighbors.
Thank you for your support and concern.
President & CEO