Kehilla Safety and Security: It’s Not Paranoia - It's Good Planning

As kehillot, we provide sanctuary for our communities – homes for both our joyous celebrations and challenging moments with support and succor from our tradition and fellow congregants. To do so, our sanctuaries – and our classrooms, offices, assembly areas and other spaces within and surrounding our facilities – must be safe and secure.

At the High Holiday season we must be most welcoming, and yet, most security-minded.

The first step – the most important step – in safety and security planning for your kehilla is to invite your local law enforcement and fire departments to your facilities.Do a walkthrough with them both to familiarize them with your staff and building and to get their recommendations for safety and security measures. Invite your insurance company to do a review with you from their perspective.

There is no way to avoid emergencies or problems, which is why we encourage you to plan ahead. This flyer provides you with several resources for to help with safety and security planning. Some are documents, some are resource webpages and some are videos. Use these resources to draw up procedures for safety and security issues before you need them.

Among the highest priority areas to concentrate planning, at your meetings and web research, are:

  • Appropriate access control for building entry on Shabbat, holidays and during the school and work week.
  • Fire and storm drills,especially plans for during services and religious school.
  • Procedures for dealing with suspicious or threatening phone calls, mail or packages.
  • Procedures for dealing with suspicious visitors, activities or vehicles on kehilla grounds.
  • Communications / shelter plans in case of storms or flooding.

Take some time to consider at a series of board discussions: What are our most important services to our members? How could we provide those services if our building were damaged, destroyed or became inaccessible? These questions reflect both the natural threats realities we live with storms, flooding and fire as well as the planning we should do to protect ourselves from threats from the world of terrorism.

To view the webinar we held in conjunction with Secure Community Networks in August 2012, please click here.

If you have questions feel free to contact your KRM.

Safety and Security Planning Resource Guide



On-line Security Training:

The SCN Homeland Security & Preparedness Training Center is a comprehensive online e-learning portal dedicated to training, video education and other interactive training and development content. United Synagogue is a partner agency of the Secure Community Network.

Online Private Security Officer Training for Jewish Institutions

To download this information as a PDF, please click here.

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