I last wrote a note regarding security, to the congregation, just before the High Holy Days. At that time, I tried to briefly outline some of our security plans and attempted to put your minds at ease that your protection was of paramount importance.
During and following the Holy Days, some of you expressed your surprise and, indeed, displeasure that we had appeared to take a less (rather than more) aggressive security posture and wondered why. Let me try to respond.
Since my arrival here, I have been in regular contact with local, national and even international security and counter-terrorism experts. We have had facility and process reviews by representatives of the Toronto Police Service and by a former Mossad operative. I receive a world terrorism situational briefing, prepared by CSIS and US Homeland Security, on a bi-monthly basis. Our local UJA Federation, and their partner, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), employs a full-time Community Security Consultant who meets with us regularly but, more importantly, issues security alerts when necessary. In short, YOUR security is always top of mind for me and our dedicated staff.
During the past Holy Days, Toronto Police officers (both in uniform and not), on foot, on bicycle and in cars, were constantly in and out of our building. In the wake of this latest round of terror in France, working with our local Toronto Police division, marked police cruisers were constantly patrolling on Bathurst and in both of our parking lots this past Saturday. This, we are told, with a combination of our regular security force, augmented by police officers, is the appropriate response based upon an assessment of risk.
However, I believe we can all do more to help keep Holy Blossom Temple safe. We need your help in keeping your eyes and ears open for suspicious persons or objects. We need you to leave large handbags, oversized purses and backpacks at home. We need you to never leave your personal objects unattended. And we need you to only enter and exit the building, following instructions from our guards, and without letting others in an open door as you leave.
We all play a vital role in protecting our congregants, guests and our facilities. We thank you for your support.
Please feel free to contact me with your questions or comments: [email protected]