On a family trip to Israel back in 2007, on the way into a grocery store one of my young kids asked, “Daddy, why are they looking in our bags on the way into the store? We couldn’t have stolen anything yet.”

On reflection, it’s not that my child was young without the ability to understand Israel’s need for security, it’s that she is American and lacked the perspective to understand. Sadly, over the past 15 years, we’ve all gained the perspective.

As expressed earlier this week, we are grateful that all four hostages of Beth Israel Congregation in Colleyville, Tex., are safe and unharmed.

Now what?

Pre-COVID, security was the top priority. We were all working with law enforcement and/or private security firms. We formed committees, set up trainings, and established protocols. And then COVID hit, pushing security to a back burner. The new buzz words were social distancing, masks, and vaccinations. Air purification systems trumped panic buttons.

And now, we’re back to security.

The hostages credited security training for their survival. The good news is that we’ve been training here for years, with most of that training directed toward institutional professionals and security committees. But, with the advancements in virtual programming, we can make that training available to a wider audience.

We have a new dedicated page to our website that will highlight our relationship with the Secure Community Network (SCN), provide security resources, and link security programs posted on our calendar. We invite all community partners hosting virtual security programs to submit them to our calendar so that we can all benefit from the opportunity. For example, on January 25, Temple Israel is hosting a virtual conversation with Mayor Sheehan and Albany police on “Safety, Security, and Peace of Mind." The community is welcome and you may register here.

The second event, scheduled for January 27, is a preview of a new SCN program, “BeAware,” which is “designed to improve the ability of members of the Jewish community to recognize and react to dangerous situations in their everyday lives—from going to synagogue and dropping off children at school, to going to the gas station or an ATM.” You may register here.

Our first posting under resources is some information shared with us by New York State’s Homeland Security and Emergency Services, including a video on active shooting.

Please let me know if you have resources to share or things you’d like to see. We’re all in this together. Be safe!

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