The 2016 presidential campaign is finally coming to a close. It is clear that many Americans have found the campaign to be a trying experience. The alarming negativity and the persistent divisiveness have left our nation with a case of frayed nerves. For the Jewish community, the harsh political environment has an uglier, menacing edge – recurring outbreaks of anti-Semitic rhetoric and property defacement.
Ten years after the shooting in our building, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is vigilant about security. As a lead partner in the SAFE Washington coalition, we work with law enforcement on two-way information sharing about potential dangers. SAFE Washington, a Mark Bloome initiative, is a partnership of the Federation, Secure Community Networks, Setracon and ADL.
SAFE Washington keeps the Jewish community abreast of any potential threats in real time as we are made aware. SAFE Washington values its close and cooperative working relationships with the Seattle Police Department and other law enforcement agencies – when there is a situation that warrants extra patrols around Jewish organizations, the police are informed and they respond as appropriate. SAFE Washington offers training and preparedness resources – how to identify suspicious behavior, how to take security precautions, how to plan ahead and institute best practices for dealing with an emergency. All of this security support is available from SAFE Washington at no cost.
As we focus on our day-to-day lives and work, security and emergency preparedness can sometimes slip to the back burner. It’s important periodically to pause and make sure we’re prepared for the unexpected. We encourage Jewish organizations to request a security walk-through from your local police department, and ask SAFE Washington to arrange preparedness training for your organization.
With the election and its results drawing near, a reminder about the importance of community awareness is timely. Being prepared is paramount, and we are working with our SAFE Washington partners to act on that goal.
While its necessity is unfortunate, I am grateful for the work of SAFE Washington members on behalf of our entire community.