In wake of the tragic Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif., it’s easy to feel helpless about the repeated acts of violence against people of faith around the globe, especially those of the Jewish faith who have been targeted for centuries. Yet we cannot be paralyzed, and a proactive, promising, bipartisan, interfaith coalition is taking action. It’s bringing together top leaders from both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. From the coalition:
“Former DHS Secretaries Michael Chertoff and Jeh Johnson will co-chair a new Community Safety and Security Task Force convened by ADL (the Anti-Defamation League), a leading anti-hate organization, and the Secure Community Network (SCN), the homeland security and safety initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations …. The task force will develop best practices to increase coordination and cooperation related to incident tracking, information sharing, reporting and addressing threats, as well as building partnerships within and across communities. Building from the experience and expertise developed within the Jewish community, and inclusive of other faith-based communities, the Task Force will make recommendations to more effectively address hate crimes while enhancing safety and security for all faith-based institutions…. Following the October 27th attack on the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, the ADL and SCN came together to address hate, anti-Semitism and threats as well as violence targeted at the Jewish community in the United States. Given that many threats impact all faith-based institutions regardless of affiliation, and as seen in the tragic attack on the Muslim community in New Zealand, the Task Force will develop best practices that can enhance the safety, security, and resilience of all faith-based communities.”
As a former correspondent in Jerusalem for The Jerusalem Post, over the years, I’ve developed a strong affection for Israel and the Jewish people. I deeply hope this task force can create significant improvements to protect synagogues, churches, temples, mosques and other houses of worship.
Beyond bolstered security, we need a cultural reformation–like the one at Rachel’s Challenge, led by the father of the first Columbine shooting victim–that stops hate, depression and isolation in their tracks and replaces it with empathy, healing and compassion.
Photo by jparise