Scene of hostage taking in Texas
Scene of hostage taking in TexasREUTERS/Shelby Tauber

Since Jewish Federations launched LiveSecure last year, the number of Jewish communities in North America that have security programs has increased by 42%.

The announcement was made Sunday afternoon at the opening plenary of The General Assembly, Jewish Federations annual gathering that kicked off Sunday in Chicago with 1,200 Jewish communal leaders.

“At the time of the Tree of Life shootings, only a smattering of communities had professional community security initiatives, but since the launch of the LiveSecure initiative, things have gotten better,” said Jewish Federations Board Chair Julie Platt. “It’s incredible to see LiveSecure in action, making our communities safer every day, even as antisemitism and hate are on the rise.”

Just one year since the launch of Jewish Federations $130 million LiveSecure initiative, the largest security campaign in the history of the North American Jewish community, the total number of Jewish communities that have comprehensive security programs stands at 64, a 42% increase from before the launch of the initiative, when there were only 45 such initiatives.

New security programs have been launched in San Diego, Houston, Birmingham, Rockland County, and Jacksonville, among other cities. Existing initiatives have grown in their strength and scope as well.

LiveSecure pledges to protect every single Jewish community in the U.S. and Canada through a grant issued by Jewish Federations of North America, with matching funds raised by the local Federation. Funds go towards implementing a professionally-led, comprehensive Communal Security Initiatives (CSI) and active-shooter security training and enhancing them where they already exist, as well as to advocacy and training to access government funding. Each Federation works closely with the Jewish Federations of North America and the Secure Community Network (SCN), the organization Jewish Federations established to secure the American Jewish community in the aftermath of 9/11.

Community Security Initiatives across North America have saved countless lives and thwarted a multitude of potential threats against the Jewish community. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker credited the training he received to saving his life during the hostage crisis in the Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville.

In addition to LiveSecure, Jewish Federations advance security through advocacy activities. Since 2004, Jewish Federations have advocated for the vital Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which helps bolster the physical security of Jewish communities by funding communal building reinforcements and access controls, CCTV systems and more. Jewish Federations played a lead role in advancing a proposed increase in funding to the program, from $250 million to $360 million in FY 2023.