Today is February 21, 2020 -

Keeping Beth El and Our Community Secure

by Jay Gordman, President of the Board of Trustees

As I set out to write articles for the Kol, I always like to focus on ideas and updates on how we are working to grow your connections to Beth El and each other. Lately, I have received many questions about what we are doing to enhance security at Beth El. I feel it is time to dedicate an article to this important topic.

There are three areas we focus on to make Beth El more secure.

Procedures and Training
Several years ago, our security committee, Executive Director and professional security partner developed a procedures guide to improve our processes, training and tools to better prevent security issues and address a problem if it were to arise. This guide is continually updated and it is now posted in the main rooms of
our synagogue.

One of the most important things we can do is train our staff to prevent and handle safety and security situations. All staff in the building are regularly going through training to be better prepared in case of an emergency. In addition to training for handling security situations, they are also trained in areas of safety like CPR, basic first aid, plus tornado and fire drills.

Our security committee is also starting an effort to grow our greeter program and provide better training to this group. Having a friendly face greeting people as they come into the building and acting as an extra set of eyes for our physical security team is imperative.

We will have ongoing training to help our team prevent issues and handle situations if they were to unfortunately arise.

Physical Security Personnel
Over the past several years, we have expanded the amount of time we have trained security personnel at the building. In certain cases, we not only have security that you see, but security personnel that are not visible.

We are privileged to have a consistent security presence with Tim Donahue. He has a very good knowledge of our building and security situations. By getting to know the faces of our congregants, he understands when a new person approaches the building and can spend a little extra time making sure they are here for the right reasons.

Building Enhancements
We have regularly upgraded our security system over the years. Unfortunately, older systems do not support the preventative features that are now available.
As we embark on changes to our building, we are not only focused on how we can better utilize our spaces, but how we can make sure we incorporate the latest in security technology. This will also apply to our cemetery.

The Community Security Committee
One additional area that will improve the security for Beth El and our whole community is the creation of a security committee that includes all Jewish institutions in Omaha. This committee will allow us to work together to make all of our organizations more safe and secure.

Creating connections and regular engagement with you, our congregants, is our primary mission. We want you to be confident that when you are at Beth El, we are working to create a safe and secure environment.