Amid rising antisemitism, USCJ announces new partnership with Secure Community Network

This collaboration joins similar deals between the communal security group and the Union for Reform Judaism and Orthodox Union

With antisemitic incidents at historic levels across the U.S. in the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and Secure Community Network announced a partnership to enhance security awareness on Monday.

The agreement follows SCN’s similar collaborations with the two other denominations – a memorandum of understanding signed with the Union for Reform Judaism in late 2022, as well as an online forum to report incidents with the Orthodox Union.

Ezra Weinberger, a spokesperson for SCN, told eJewishPhilanthropy that the partnership was in the works before Oct. 7, but that “the events certainly crystallized the urgency of this agreement.” According to a statement, the agreement “formalizes two decades of collaboration and reflects the enhanced emphasis of USCJ to bolster its safety, security, and resiliency efforts across its approximately 600 affiliated synagogues in North America and Israel, making it the largest network of Conservative Jewish Congregations worldwide.” 

Through the agreement, SCN will continue to assist USCJ in implementing best-practice security frameworks, including the creation of security policies, emergency plans, facility assessments, training and crisis management support, according to the statement. 

“USCJ will also have ongoing access to SCN’s nationwide network of full-time security professionals and their relationships with local law enforcement partners, alongside up-to-date intelligence gathering from SCN’s National Jewish Security Operations Command Center ,” the statement said. 

The newest collaboration comes amid a 337% rise in antisemitic incidents nationwide since the Oct. 7 terror attacks, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL said it recorded 2,031 antisemitic incidents across the U.S. between Oct. 7 and Dec. 7, which is up significantly from 465 incidents during the same two-month period in 2022. 

SCN was founded in 2004 under the the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, serving as the central organization dedicated exclusively to the American Jewish community’s security, working across 146 federations, 50 partner organizations and over 300 independent communities. 

Michael Masters, the group’s CEO and national director, said in a statement that the agreement “will further allow members of the community to engage in meaningful Jewish experiences without fear of threats, violence, or intimidation.”

Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO of USCJ, added in a statement, “USCJ is grateful for this opportunity to deepen our partnership with SCN.  As we work together to strengthen the security of congregants and facilities, our member synagogues will continue to benefit from SCN’s tremendous expertise and support systems.”