Catastrophes like Charlottesville, San Diego, and Pittsburgh, and “minor” incidents close to home like the anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled inside a University at Buffalo bathroom are painful reminders that anti-Semitism is becoming normalized. As the world continues to deal with the evolving dynamics of these hate-fueled actions, the thought on every mind is “How can we protect ourselves and keep our community safe?” According to Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, all such attacks worldwide rose 13 percent in 2018. That same year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 1,879 recorded attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions in the United States, making it the third-highest year on record since the 1970s. In an unprecedented response to this resurgent threat, the Buffalo Jewish Federation convened a meeting of local Jewish community leaders last November. In consultation with the Secure Community Network, they set up the “Secure Jewish Buffalo Fund” to accomplish several extremely important and laudable goals:
- Targeted grants for security upgrades to synagogues and other community partners;
- Security training for communal and religious leaders;
- Hiring of a Jewish Security Liaison to engage law enforcement and connect them to the local Jewish community;
- Interventions in local schools where anti-Semitism incidents occur, and education to counter hate before it takes root.