Beth Am's Security Working Group is Making Progress
After the tragic event at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October, the Beth Am Board of Directors created a Security Working Group (SWG) to evaluate and accelerate work under way to improve security at Beth Am. The SWG has 10 members and is co-chaired by Bob Frankle, a member of the Board of Directors, and our Executive Director, Rachel Tasch. To inform our work, the SWG has met with security experts from law enforcement, the Jewish Community Federation and the Secure Community Network, the security organization of the Jewish Federations of North America. We are obtaining guidance on security for houses of worship and schools from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Beth Am is also meeting regularly with representatives from other synagogues on the mid-Peninsula to help leverage our collective knowledge, experience and resources regarding synagogue security.
The SWG currently has a list of 18 tasks to improve security at Beth Am. To date, six of the tasks have been completed, and SWG members are actively working on the others. The task list is reviewed and updated at regular meetings and progress is also reported monthly to the Board of Directors. By necessity, much of the work must be kept confidential.
You may notice some of the security improvements on the Beth Am campus. For example, a security guard is present during Shabbat services and Sunday youth education programs. Also, safety film was applied to the windows in the Sanctuary to reduce the danger from broken glass. In the near future, a gate will be constructed at the entrance road and security cameras installed on the campus. Other less visible improvements, like updating our emergency procedures, are also being planned. Rest assured that all of the measures we are taking are intended to improve security on the Beth Am campus while maintaining the welcoming and inclusive spirit that we all cherish.
We will update the congregation periodically on our progress with security improvements at Beth Am. In the meantime, if you have questions or input, please email email@example.com. We welcome your feedback.