July 19, 2024
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MetroWest Federation Supports Temple Ner Tamid After Attempted Arson Attack

(Courtesy of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ) Following the attempted arson attack against Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield several weeks ago, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ went into immediate action. Their security team contacted the FBI and County Prosecutor’s Office and helped with communications to congregants, preschool parents and the community. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly apprehended, and no one was physically injured. But their work did not end there.

“The relationship that we established with Temple Ner Tamid is one that impacts all levels of the community, including the facilities staff, teachers, lay leaders, executive director, and, of course, the rabbi,” said Federation Chief Security Officer Robert Wilson. “We have collaborated to build competencies for responding to security incidents and laid the foundation for a long-term partnership that will improve the safety and preparedness of all stakeholders.”

Within a couple of days, Wilson, Federation Director of Security Training Chip Michaels, and Federation CEO Dov Ben-Shimon held a town hall meeting with Temple Ner Tamid’s executive leadership and the parents of Shoresh School students to calm nerves, answer questions and relay the security plans and procedures that were already in place.

By building relationships among congregants, security professionals and local law enforcement, Federation has developed the communication channels necessary to facilitate our immediate response when an incident occurs. They ensure that procedures for responding to security incidents are concise, understandable and known. They assess physical security equipment vulnerabilities to understand what they need to improve to secure their space, funding locally through budgets where possible, and state and federal security grants where applicable.

In the weeks following the incident at Ner Tamid, Wilson and Federation Security Grant Writer Dorit Zimerman met with the temple’s executive leadership and security committee to recommend further physical security protocols and enhancements, and to assist them with applying for an upcoming Federal Nonprofit Security Grant. Since the grant application is a multiyear process, Federation’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted, on March 9, to immediately fund security enhancements in and around the synagogue building.

“The aftermath of this event shows that by training our people to understand our emergency procedures and response options to a security incident, we develop capable guardians,” Wilson added. “Being prepared is key.”

Federation’s Community Security Initiative is an invaluable resource for the synagogues and other Jewish institutions in our Greater MetroWest community. To learn more about the services we offer and how we help make our community security strong, visit www.jfedgmw.org/security.

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