Monday, January 19, 2015

Report threats, US Jewish security arm tells groups 

In the wake of the deadly Paris attacks, the security arm of national US Jewish groups is asking Jewish institutions to report any incidents of threats, vandalism or attacks.

The Secure Community Network, or SCN, in a January 18 memo told Jewish institutions that information it gathers could assist national law enforcement agencies in discerning any national trends in threats.

Organizations should first notify local law enforcement of any threat or incident, the memo said, and then SCN.

"This will allow SCN to better identify and assess incidents and trends and share that information back out to our security director and law enforcement network to keep you all better informed of other incidents across the country and assist you in security planning and decision making," the SCN memo said.

The memo also urged institutions to instruct staff and volunteers to review SCN's online training on facing attackers.

The memo described increased security in Europe in the wake of the January 7-9 attacks in Paris on a satirical weekly, a kosher supermarket and police that left 17 people dead.

"While we are not aware of any credible, specific threats against Jewish organizations in the US at this time, in light of the recent attacks in Paris and other counter-terrorism actions against suspected terrorist plots across Europe, it is imperative that we continue our vigilance, security efforts and increased information sharing to stay ahead of this continuously evolving threat," SCN said.

SCN is funded by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

Separately, SCN distributed a memo at the request of the French Jewish community refuting reports that the Great Synagogue of Paris had closed on the Sabbath immediately following the Paris attacks.

"Our French communal partners advised us that the Grande Synagogue was in fact open with enhanced security measures in place and that the synagogue received more members on that day then in recent memory," the synagogue said. "Furthermore, our community partners consider this to be a significant statement which needed to be conveyed to all Jewish communities and organizations throughout the Diaspora."

JTA was among the agencies that reported that the synagogue had been ordered shuttered by police.

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