As San Diego prepares to honor the victims of the attack on Poway of Chabad during Solidarity Shabbat this weekend, ADL wants to share a few helpful tips to keep you, and your synagogues safe.
These tips, and many others, have also been shared with congregations and other Jewish communal institutions who participate in ADL San Diego's quarterly Jewish Communal Security Committee (JCSC) meetings.
1. See something, say something. It sounds simple, but this advice is often overlooked as an essential means of identifying security concerns. If something looks out of place or suspicious to you, it is worth reporting. Don’t hesitate to contact the proper authorities.
2. Communication. In the event that you see something suspicious, or if something has already gone wrong, you should know how you are going to communicate with emergency personnel, with community members, and with others who may be nearby. This can sometimes be complicated by religious customs or by technical obstacles like poor cell phone service, so plans should be made with those contingencies in mind.
3. Have a Plan. Jewish institutions should all have security plans in place, as many in San Diego already do. Institutions should also ensure the right people are trained on the plan, and review it often. Even before the tragic attack on Chabad of Poway, ADL has supported JCSC member organizations in creating security plans. Institutional leadership must know what actions each essential team member will take in the first moments of a crisis, and in the hours and days that follow. Physical resources like barriers and guards may be the most visible elements of such a plan, but the mere presence of those resources is insufficient without comprehensive policies and procedures.
4. Get Involved. Every Jewish institution needs volunteers, from ADL itself to other communal nonprofits to synagogues to schools. Staying involved will give you a better sense of what “normal” looks like at each institution, which will help you apply tips 1-3 from a position of increased expertise and contextual knowledge. However you volunteer, no matter the specific duties, you can play a role in your institution’s plan.
5. Continue living your Jewish life. Security consciousness is prudent, but we must resist paranoia. As Chabad of Poway’s Rabbi Goldstein said, “Fill up your synagogues. Show them that it's not going to deter us. Terrorism will not win. But peace and love will."
ADL San Diego wishes each and every member of our greater community a peaceful and meaningful Shabbat.