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March 30, 2023 4:02 pm

New Security Alliance Formed by Jewish Groups in New York and New Jersey


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. Photo Credit: ADL.

Eight major nonprofits from New York and New Jersey have created a supra-regional group for sharing and receiving information about threats to Jewish communities in the area.

“The past year has seen multiple, serious threats against Jewish communal institutions in New York and New Jersey, some of which could have proven far more lethal had it not been for the diligent work of our community partners and law enforcement,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a press release on Tuesday. “These threats serve as a reminder that we must remain vigilant against future attacks, which is why it is so important for our communal organizations to be working as closely together as possible on issues of security.”

Called the “Jewish Security Alliance of NY/NJ,” the group will comprise officials from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Community Security Initiative (CSI), and Community Security Service’s Northeastern Division (CSS), as well as Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey, Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ, Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon & Warren Counties, Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County, and Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey.

On Tuesday, the ADL said the group has four main objectives, including being the main point of contact for federal and local agencies, informing the Jewish community of New York and New Jersey of potential threats, receiving incident reports on antisemitic hate crimes, and providing Jewish institutions counsel and training on the best security methods.

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The announcement follows the ADL’s announcing that in 2022 antisemitic incidents in the US occurred in the highest numbers recorded since the group began tracking them in 1979. Jewish institutions and synagogue were targeted in 589 incidents, including a hostage situation at synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, and 91 bomb threats, the most recorded since 2017. Four hundred-and-ninety-four incidents took place on K-12 campuses, and two-hundred-and-nineteen took place at colleges and universities, an increase of 41 percent from the previous year.

“The recent steep rise in antisemitism, and the resulting increase in bias incidents and hate crimes, compels us to join together to protect Jewish communities in New York and New Jersey,” Robin Wishnie, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties, said. “We all welcome the opportunity to enhance what we have in place through this new partnership.”

New York and New Jersey combined for nearly 1,000 antisemitic incidents in 2022, seeing the first and third most in all 50 states. New York led the nation with 580 incidents, a 34 percent change from 2019, when there were 430. Other data complied by Americans Against Antisemitism, a US based group founded in 2019, shows that Hasidic and Orthodox Jews in New York City are overwhelmingly represented in the area’s hate crime statistics, being targeted in 94 percent of all reported.

Evan R. Bernstein, national director and CEO of CSS, which was founded in 2007 and offers physical security and trains volunteers who want to provide it, emphasized the need for pooling the groups’ resources.

“No one entity can tackle hate alone,” he said. “Our Northeastern Division leadership and network of trained security volunteers stands ready to work within this new alliance to ensure better communication and coordination with the ultimate goal of improving our safety outcomes.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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