ADL High Security Manual

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27 Aug 2015


In advance of the High Holidays, ADL has released a 2015 edition of our Jewish communal security manual Protecting Your Jewish Institution.  The manual was first published in 2003 to assist a variety of different types of Jewish institutions in coming up with security plans and procedures.  The updated and newly released 2015 edition provides important information on topics which include: security planning; physical security and operations; relationships with emergency personnel; guide to detecting surveillance; computer and data security; explosive threat response planning; active shooters; dealing with protesters; crisis management, and more. The manual can be found at
In preparation for the High Holidays, we would also like to take this opportunity to share with you the following list of strongly recommended best practices:
*   Connect with local law enforcement to discuss security and advise them of High Holiday schedules and special events. In particular, communicate with the police commander of the jurisdiction in which your institution is located.  If you are not sure whom to reach out to, ADL can help connect you with the appropriate command staff and personnel.
*   Ensure that ushers understand that they play a critical role in security matters (even where there is security staff), as they are often used to control access to the sanctuary and are in a position to spot trouble early.
*   Ensure that ushers are familiar with suspicious activity indicators, and encourage them to promptly report anything suspicious to the police or security personnel.
*   A facility should have as few entry points as possible (ideally one), so that no one is able to enter your facility without being greeted and observed.  Be sure to obey all fire codes and ensure adequate routes for exiting the building.
*   Establish procedures for controlling access into your facility.  It is important to establish policies and procedures well ahead of time so that ushers and others who are reacting to developing situations know how to respond according to pre-determined rules.
*   If your institution has hired a police officer or security guard, provide them with specific instructions and identify someone to be their primary contact if they have questions (such as an usher captain).
*   Ensure that staff, leadership, and constituents know their role in security and what to do in the event of an emergency.
*   Encourage staff, leadership, and constituents to trust their instincts if they come across someone or something suspicious.
*   Pre-event publicity for upcoming events should be reviewed in light of security. Potential gains in audience numbers must be weighed against the security concerns created through different types of publicity.
*   Ensure that existing safety devices (video cameras, lights, walkie talkies, etc.) are in good working condition.
*   Trust your instincts. If something strikes you as being out of place or problematic, contact the police immediately.

Security should be a part of institution’s culture year round, but with the High Holidays approaching, now is a particularly good time to for institutions to revisit their security plans and procedures and to remind staff, lay leaders, and members of those measures. Please feel free to contact ADL for any additional information, to request security awareness training or to sign up to receive security bulletins and alerts.

We wish everyone a happy, healthy, safe, and peaceful High Holiday season.

Elise M. Jarvis
Associate Director
Law Enforcement Outreach and Communal Security
Anti-Defamation League
Phone: 202-261-4612

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