Homeland Security, other agencies distribute Jewish community primer


American law enforcement and homeland security agencies are distributing a primer prepared by the Jewish community that details Jewish life and violent incidents directed at Jews in the United States and abroad.

The Secure Community Network (SCN), an initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, created the document titled “Homeland Security Background Briefing: Building Cooperation, Understanding and Innovative Partnerships Between Law Enforcement and the American Jewish Community.”

The primer was developed in response to inquiries and requests by national and local law enforcement agencies, according to the SCN, and funded by a grant from the Implant Sciences Corp.

The document describes Jewish life in general and the branches of American Judaism while explaining Jewish holidays. It also details violent incidents directed at American Jews and other Diaspora Jewish communities. 

Michael Downing, the deputy chief of counterterrorism at the Los Angeles Police Department, said in an SCN news release that the briefing is “an excellent resource guide” that will “help to build our human ring of steel around vulnerable communities to defend against current threats.”

Over the past few weeks, SCN has distributed the briefing to law enforcement agencies across the United States, ranging from local police to the FBI. The security briefing was endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which will share the report with police departments across the country. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security distributed the primer to 50 state representatives and posted it as a resource for training and education.

Homeland Security official briefs Jewish leaders after Toulouse


A top Homeland Security official briefed Jewish groups in the wake of the deadly attack in Toulouse, France.

Bill Flynn, an assistant undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security, spoke to over 120 leaders in a phone call on Wednesday, two days after lone gunman believed to be an Islamist extremist killed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in the southern French city.

Paul Goldenberg, who heads the Security Communication Network, the group affiliated with the Jewish Federations of North America that organized the call, said he and Flynn reviewed security procedures, resources and protocols. 

“The most important element here is that Jewish communities are very much remaining open for business, we will do so in a much more vigilant matter,” Goldenberg told JTA.

In addition to the JFNA and SCN, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations helped organize the call. 

Goldenberg said that requests for SCN training sessions have increased since the shooting, and that he is traveling to six cities over the next two weeks.

“There is no imminent or specific threat regarding the American Jewish community,” he said. “We will remain concerned about the lone wolf and those that are acting independent of organized groups.”