NYPD Pledges Vigilance Over Jewish High Holidays
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly hosted the Jewish community at NYPD Headquarters as part of the Annual High Holy Days Briefing. Speakers included Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Commissioner Kelly; Richard Haas, president Council on Foreign Relations; and businessman Mort Zuckerman. Similar events are held prior to other major Jewish holidays.
Mayor Bloomberg kicked off the event by explaining that although he was unaware of any known specific threats to the Jewish community, he cautioned that vigilance was necessary, and the city would devote considerable resources to ensuring the safety of the public during the High Holy Days.
Commissioner Ray Kelly explained that “for the time being we are keeping in place some of the security measures we took over the [9/11] weekend as we remain in a heightened stay of alert.” He reminded the audience that the last plot in New York foiled back in May of 2011, included plans by alleged terrorists, Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh, who intended to “blow up a synagogue in Manhattan.” While adding that anti-Semitic hate crimes are down by more than 40% this year, the Commissioner added that he would deploy heavily-armed Hercules teams at synagogues around the city and that the Intelligence Division would continue to gather and analyze potential threats.
Among the audience members in attendance were representatives of numerous Jewish organizations, including the Community Security Service (CSS) -a non-profit organization that provides specialized operational training to synagogues, schools, and other Jewish organizations in cooperation with the police department.
Speaking after the official address, CSS co-president Adam Sager remarked, “There is a confluence of events around the High Holy Days this year, including the Durban III Conference; tensions between Israel, Egypt and Turkey; the ‘Arab Fall;’ and Iran. This is heightened by the fact that the alleged masterminds of carrying out a potential act of terror on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 have not been caught.” He added, “As a result of this increased threat, there is a greater need for the Jewish community to assist law enforcement as extra eyes and ears, since nobody knows the community as well as the community itself.”
This year Erev Rosh HaShanah begins the evening of September 28th and ends September 30 at nightfall. Yom Kippur begins the evening of October 7 and ends the following night, October 8.