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Aug 13, 2014

South Florida Jewish Community Joins Together to Ensure Safety and Security

Against a backdrop of geopolitical unrest, a war in Israel and rising anti-Semitism in Europe, our own Miami-Dade Jewish community has recently been alarmed by a series of criminal attacks, including the horrific murder of Rabbi Joseph Raksin this past weekend. We remain strong, unified and committed to working shoulder-to-shoulder to ensure the safety and security of all individuals and Jewish institutions, especially in the face of increased anti-Semitism here and abroad. As representatives of communal organizations that firmly believe we are stronger when operating in concert with one another, we offer a joint statement of support and vision for further strengthening our community. We also want to acknowledge and express appreciation for those of diverse faiths and backgrounds who have voiced their concern and outrage over these attacks. This support and solidarity is important and we feel blessed to have friends and partners in so many communities in South Florida.

Building upon ongoing efforts to protect our facilities, establish partnerships with law enforcement and train our communal leadership, our organizations have been working collaboratively with local authorities to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice and protect our community. Specific and ongoing consultations have taken place with the Miami-Dade Police Department. We are pleased that in every case, law enforcement authorities have been receptive to our concerns and we are confident that they are investigating the shooting of Rabbi Raksin as a matter of the highest priority. Furthermore, we welcome their assurances that they will be intensifying their efforts to ensure the overall safety and security of the Jewish community.

We are committed to continue to work together to prevent future incidents and to empower individuals and organizations to change the culture of security. Over the past few days, numerous briefings and meetings have occurred to bring the community together, respond to specific concerns and plan a systematic, coordinated response. This plan, based in part on recommendations by the Secure Community Network, the Anti-Defamation League, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation, includes:

• Institutional security assessments with law enforcement to improve access control and surveillance

• Expansion of the "See Something, Say Something" campaign to encourage community vigilance and reporting of suspicious activity

• Education of community members to reduce vulnerabilities and establish close working relationships with law enforcement

• Immediate and ongoing security training for professional and volunteer leaders in synagogues, day schools and other Jewish communal institutions

We are confident that we will emerge from this tragic time stronger and more united than ever. May Rabbi Raksin’s memory be for a blessing.

Robert G. Berrin, Chair of the Board, Greater Miami Jewish Federation
Jacob Solomon, President and CEO, Greater Miami Jewish Federation

Andrew C. Hall, President, AJC Miami and Broward
Brian Siegal, Director, AJC Miami and Broward

Scott Notowitz, Regional Chair, Anti-Defamation League
Hava L. Holzhauer, Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League

Rabbi Yosef Marlow, Chabad Bais Menachem

Rabbi Alan Litwak, President, Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami
Rabbi Frederick L. Klein, Executive VP, Rabbinical Association of Greater Miami

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