My mentor Mark Goldstein, may his memory be for a blessing, often used the expression, “in the fullness of time.” As a younger professional who often was running faster that I should to get things done, when I heard those words it would frustrate me. I would think: “What do you mean? I need concrete and I need it now!”
Today, perhaps because I am older and hopefully wiser, perhaps cowed a bit by a raging pandemic, I embrace those words. I have come to understand that time is what we make of it; our purpose, when true, will be fulfilled. I also understand perhaps a bit more acutely in light of the incredible loss that COVID-19 has wrought, that time is our most fleeting and precious gift.
Long before COVID-19, another scourge was plaguing our people. Facing the most dynamic and complex threat environment in American history, the Jewish community is seeing unprecedented spikes in anti-Semitism and identity- based hate and violence. Deadly attacks occurred over the last two years at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the Chabad House in Poway, California, and at Jewish sites in Monsey (New York) and Newark (New Jersey). Moreover, there is well-documented evidence of disturbing growth in groups and individuals espousi ng extremist ideologies.
In our region, recent anti-Semitic activity has included telephonic bomb threats to the Jewish Community Center, Jewish cemetery desecrations, and disruption of online services and events at local synagogues and Jewish agencies as well as property desecrations with swastikas and hateful graffiti.
Keeping the Jewish community safe and secure is our responsibility. It is our sacred trust. Kol Israel arevim zeh la’zeh. All Jews are responsible for one another.
Just after the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville in the summer of 2017, I knew that our community needed more security help than we were currently providing. I also knew that our needs would come at a significant cost. As you know from my earlier statement, my zeal to make things happen sometimes knows no bounds; I set the wheels in motion, believing as I always do, that there is strength and opportunity in collaboration and partnership. What if we could take a holistic approach and find a solution for the entire Connecticut Jewish community?
While it may have taken “the fullness of time,” our community is joining with several Connecticut Federations by engaging Secure Community Network (SCN) to retain a Regional Security Advisor (RSA) as Greater Hartford also hires a Security Director, ensuring that the Jewish community in the state of Connecticut is served. Each congregation, agency, facility, kosher establishment and Chabad house will be served through the development and implementation of strategic frameworks, best practice policies and procedures, threat and vulnerability assessments, training and education, safety and security matters, and crisis management support during critical incidents. In addition, SCN’s 24/7 Duty Desk provides timely, credible threat and incident information to both law enforcement and community partners. The RSA will serve as the community’s formal liaison with federal law enforcement and coordinates closely with state and local l aw enforcement partners.
As we enter the season of revitalization and the renewal of spring, may our community be protected and safe, my you and those you love remain healthy and strong and may we all enjoy a socially distant zissen Pesach.
From the Desk of JUDY ALPERIN
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER