Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Security expert: Jewish institutions in USA must protect themselves

The phone calls are coming. They were predictable.
“The phone always rings when something like this happens. Then interests wanes.”
That’s Gary Moskowitz. A rabbi. And former New York City cop.
He consults with religious institutions on security these days. Sometimes business is slow. Sometimes, brisk.
Right now it’s busy. Because of the shootings outside a Jewish school in France that killed four.
Moskowitz is critical of the Jewish community’s “knee jerk reaction.”
Most Jewish institutions, he says, only have minimal security.
“The Jewish community is in denial; deep denial,” Moskowitz says.
“They don’t want to do the bare minimum to protect themselves.”
For example, most synagogues have an unlocked open door policy. “The only time you see a guard is on Rosh Hashana to make sure no one without a ticket comes in,” he says.
Congregations should be trained says Moskowitz, who heads the U.S. Jewish Security Council, in how to conduct a lock down. And proper evacuation techniques.
And how to protect themselves against an attack until the police arrive.
People are listening to Moskowitz now. They are even seeking him out. Because the attack in France has them on edge. But will they after it’s no longer front page news?
Moskowitz says, if recent history is any judge, unfortunately, they will not.
Contact Gary Moskowitz at gavriael@aol.com.

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