Community security is our shared responsibility

In the wake of the attack in Pittsburgh, it is not only sadness and loss that permeate the Jewish community but also anger – a collective anger that, once again, the scourge of antisemitism has manifested itself through a violent and senseless act with innocent lives lost.

While we continue to act on multiple fronts to combat the spread of antisemitism, the latest tragic incident reaffirmed our collective need, as a targeted community, for resilience, vigilance, and preparedness.

It was with this in mind, along with an understanding of the unique security challenges facing our community, that the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs established the National Community Security Program (NCSP) – in partnership with the Jewish Federations of Canada. The NCSP acts as the formal security representative of the organized Jewish Canadian community. It works hand-in-hand with government, law enforcement, and security partners, and aims to build communal security capacity and resilience through its educational and training initiatives.

The National Community Security Program

Even with the most robust security measures in place, it is a terrible and painful reality that it is impossible to block all threats. But individuals and organizations alike can mitigate threats through proper security preparation.

Every member of our community has an important role to play when it comes to communal safety and security. As we witnessed in Pittsburgh, training saves lives. This responsibility starts with everyone developing a sense of situational awareness – a sensitivity to one’s surroundings.

Having identified this need, the NCSP has developed and delivered multiple group training sessions, as well as secured remote access for individuals to a free online security training program. By attending a group seminar or by completing the NCSP’s General Safety and Security Awareness Training (GSSAT) online program, community members can equip themselves with the fundamental knowledge to assist in identifying potential threats and risks by creating a mindset of realistic and proactive security awareness.

By maintaining an awareness of our environment and staying vigilant, each of us takes the first, and necessary, step toward enhancing our collective security. Fostering a proactive and engaged Jewish community, alongside communal institutions that adhere to appropriate security policies and procedures, will serve Jewish Canadians well in overcoming our collective security challenges.  This investment, in security education and training, will produce a community that is alert, prepared, and ultimately, more safe.

About the Author
Ryan Hartman is Director, National Community Security Program (NCSP) at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations of Canada. He is responsible for the provision of professional security leadership, advice, training capacity, and support services to the broader Canadian Jewish community by way of the NCSP. It functions and interacts with both national and international level security partner organizations to empower, build capacity and instill resilience within the Jewish community. Mr. Hartman brings a wealth of professional experience and skill to the community by way of an over 25-year military career within the Canadian Armed Forces, serving operationally both at home and abroad.