Security Stress Brings Us Together, Making Us Care About One Another
By Richard Friedman,
BJF Executive Director
Probably like most people, one of my great frustrations is that I don’t always have time to think about things — and fully digest them — as I go about my day to day life. But every now and then, thankfully, something occurs which makes me — no, forces me — to really stop and think.
I have the good fortune to take my granddaughter to pre-school 1-2 times a week. She’s old enough to have developed a ritual with me and still young enough to look forward to it all and enjoy it. We always make a special effort to get to our Montclair Road Jewish Community Campus early so that we can have breakfast together in my office at the Birmingham Jewish Federation. (So what if some days breakfast is just jello or cookies?! Just don’t tell her parents.)
We laugh, play games and then I walk her to her pre-school class at the adjacent Levite Jewish Community Center. But since the avalanche of bomb scares that have swept the country targeting JCC’s, including four targeting our own Montclair Road campus, and other anti-Semitic events, access to our pre-school has become tightly-controlled, forcing some minor adjustments in our walk-to-school routine.
All that’s fine, of course, and as someone who is immersed professionally in the array of security enhancements we have installed throughout our Jewish community, I understand completely. But that specific morning got me to stop and think for a moment. I wondered and thought about all those other parents and grandparents who drop their little ones off at our LJCC and N.E. Miles Jewish Day School who don’t work in the same physical complex and who couldn’t be there in a moment’s notice if need be.
As I took off my grandfather’s hat that morning and slipped on my Federation director’s hat, I began thinking of all those families. It is to them and their kids that I feel a special responsibility — a determination to make sure that our Federation does all it can, through education, mobilization and fundraising, to make our Jewish facilities as safe as possible for the people who use them and, especially, to provide those parents with peace of mind.
This recent episode of bomb scares has been traumatic and we at the Birmingham Jewish Federation do not want a single family to be anxious; we want all to feel safe and protected when using our Jewish community facilities.
To that end, the Birmingham Jewish Federation, under the leadership of longtime volunteer leader Donald Hess, has launched a fundraising campaign to raise up to $1,000,000 to pay for a series of important security enhancements for all of our Jewish institutions. Many of these enhancements are already in place, more will be coming shortly.
To do this as quickly and effectively as possible, we need everyone who cares about our Jewish community to “chip in,” and make a generous financial contribution to the BJF’s Campaign for Jewish Community Security. This is a time when caring for one another, and looking out for one another’s well-being is paramount. Part of that, we believe, is contributing generously, if one is in a position to do so. You can make a contribution by going to the link below.
This unnerving saga already has emerged as one of the most remarkable in the history of our Jewish community.
I will not remember the fear and the uncertainty, though I am not minimizing them. I will remember the resilience, generosity and leadership of so many community members, both from the Jewish community and broader Birmingham community. Even though I don’t know all of you by name, I feel that we are kindred spirits, bound by a collective determination.
These are the feelings that are in my heart right now — love, gratitude and admiration for each of you. We shall not be deterred!
Click to donate to the Campaign for Jewish Community Security.