Jewish Security In Bham & Beyond: “We Will Not Be Deterred Or Distracted”

    Photo is of desecrated headstones in a Jewish cemetery. (Photo: Jewish News)
    Standing Together Under Attack
    The Birmingham Jewish Federation received the below from Jewish Federations of North America, our national organization. The email came just a few days before the BJF launched a fundraising effort to enhance security at Birmingham’s Jewish institutions. 

    Here (slightly edited) is the email from Jewish Federations of North America:
     
    There is a midrash (commentary) that, when standing at Sinai to receive the Torah, each person received their own personal revelation but responded in one voice, saying, “Na’aseh v’nishma” — “We will do and we will hear.” It is in that exquisite moment that we became one People. Each of us is an individual, but we — and our fate — are inextricably linked, and we are each responsible for one another. 
     
    The Jewish community today is under attack, with more than 148 terrorist threats to our institutions in more than 30 different communities. Hate-filled vandalism and desecration of our sacred places are being perpetrated to wreak havoc and instill fear. 
     
    Whenever the Jewish community is threatened in such a vile and insidious way, na’aseh v’nishma — we must stand together to face the challenges of the day in a decisive and powerful way. We may come from different vantage points, denominations, walks of life — we may differ from each other in a thousand ways — but nothing compares to that which unites us. This has been true throughout our history as a Jewish People.  
     
    Now, we are putting that shared bond to work on behalf of the entire community. As Jewish organizations of all stripes, we will not stand idly by where there is need, and we will certainly not stand idly by while our people and institutions are terrorized. We are all stronger when we work together.  
     
    In the past few weeks since these threats have magnified in number and scope, Jewish Federations have been active on several fronts:
    • Local Federations — including the Birmingham Jewish Federation — are serving as conveners to bring institutions and leadership together to respond to specific threats and attacks, develop plans to expand security resources and mobilize gatherings where appropriate to demonstrate solidarity. Our Jewish Community Centers have faced significant challenges with calm and determination, and we salute all of their efforts as well.
    • Through the Federation-funded Secure Community Network (SCN), we are working with federal officials in law enforcement and homeland security to aid investigations of bomb threats and cemetery desecrations. We are grateful to the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement, all of whom have been our partners in facing this challenge.
    • Working with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders and other coalition partners, Jewish Federations of North America is working toward a dramatic expansion of funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which helps nonprofit groups in religious and ethnic communities targeted by hate crimes.
    • We are working in lock-step collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League and other organizations, communicating daily and leveraging our shared resources and vast reach.
    • Jewish Federations of North America will be convening with the JCC Association of North America, Hillel International, Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools and the Foundation for Jewish Camp to ensure coordination of efforts and best practices among these critical national organizations.
    We will not be deterred or distracted. We will stay the course and guarantee that when our family, friends and neighbors participate in the wonderful mosaic that is Jewish life, they will find the meaning, community and security they seek. 
     
    Na’aseh v’nishma — standing together as one.
     
    ***
    The theme of the email reflects the importance of being a united people, especially during this time when the Jewish community is under attack. In Birmingham, we are united — joining together to fight the current wave of anti-Semitism.  We are striving to raise up to $1,000,000 to enhance security at our Jewish institutions. A range of gifts, from $100 to $54,000, already have been committed. (Multiples of 18 are significant in Jewish life.)
    We encourage you to join us by donating to the Campaign for Jewish Community Security. (See below link.) Any amount is appreciated. 
    To contribute to the BJF’s Campaign for Jewish Community Security, please send a check to the Birmingham Jewish Federation made out to the BJF and earmarked for security. Send it to Security, c/o the Birmingham Jewish Federation, PO Box 130219, Birmingham, AL, 35213 or go to the link below. 
    If you wish to gift appreciated stock or give your credit card information verbally, please contact BJF staff member Tiffany Hyche at 205-803-1513 or tiffanyh@bjf.org.  

    One hundred percent of the money raised will go directly for security enhancements, both physical and operational.
     

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