Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

JFGO convenes security briefing for agency, synagogue leaders


In the wake of last month’s deadly terror attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando (JFGO) convened a community security briefing on the Maitland Jewish Community Campus.

JFGO organized the June 16 briefing to address potential questions or concerns among Jewish community leaders about security and emergency preparedness at their respective agencies and synagogues.

The Federation enlisted the assistance of the Secure Community Network (SCN). Launched in 2004 by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and officially recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), SCN is the sole national security arm of the Jewish people. In the past year, SCN has advised 45 Federations on security and crisis management, hosted exercises with hundreds of national Jewish leaders and DHS and FBI officials, and convened more than 80 senior government, law enforcement and local representatives at the first-ever International Security Summit to protect Jewish communities worldwide.

While the hour-long discussion on the Maitland campus covered a wide range of security issues related specifically to the Jewish community, the SCN senior adviser who led the session stressed that Americans must become more proactive in their approach to security and think like an attacker when developing, evaluating and fine-tuning security plans.

An adversary familiarizes himself with your weakness, looks for holes in your security, and then exploits them, the adviser said. Our security systems should be based on how our adversary thinks and operates, not on how we think and operate.

Too frequently following a high-profile attack, he added, businesses and agencies tend to overreact in the immediate term, exhausting their resources as a result. As time passes without a perceived imminent threat (and with resources exhausted), security measures become more relaxed, and thus vulnerable again. The adversary knows this pattern well.

Rhonda Forest, Chair of the JFGO Board of Directors, said it is Federation’s role in times of crisis to serve as both a resource and a sounding board for the Greater Orlando Jewish community. Forest praised the speed with which the Jewish Federations of North America reached out to offer assistance to the Orlando Federation.

Just hours after the attack, Paul Goldenberg, SCN’s executive director, contacted JFGO to offer his team’s support and assistance.

“The next morning, an SCN adviser was on a plane to Orlando,” Forest said. “His presence and incredible depth of knowledge of security issues unique to the Jewish community were invaluable, and I’m pleased that we were able to make him available as a resource.”

During his time in Orlando, the adviser also met with representatives of the Maitland Police Department and visited the Maitland Jewish Community Campus, the Rosen JCC and other agencies and synagogues.


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