FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 6, 2023
COMMUNITY SECURITY SERVICE AND ORTHODOX UNION JOIN TO ENHANCE SECURITY AWARENESS
Organizations forge alliance to encourage Orthodox-affiliated communities to expand involvement in volunteer security
New York, NY, September 6, 2023 — The Community Security Service (CSS), the leading national Jewish volunteer security organization in the United States, and the Orthodox Union (OU), the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, announced today a partnership focused on building awareness around volunteer security opportunities, programs, and training.
The two entities officially established this new partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as the Jewish community works to ensure its security in the face of a heightened threat of antisemitic incidents. The ultimate goal of the alliance is to promote and enhance security awareness among OU’s broad network of institutions, and to support more constituents becoming involved in the protection of their synagogues and events.
“While our network of trained security volunteers across the country has grown tremendously over the past few years, we are nevertheless looking to increase the participation rate among our fellow community members, much like Jewish communities have done outside of the United States for decades,” said Evan R. Bernstein, National Director and CEO of CSS. “By linking up with the OU, we will be in a significantly better position to reach community members that can have a direct effect on improving our safety outcomes.”
As part of the agreement, the OU will promote CSS’ programs and services among its affiliated staff, institutions and constituents across the country, which will be available free of cost. Additionally, CSS will allocate its expertise, resources and training opportunities that best meet the specific security needs of the OU and its affiliated organizations.
“The safety and security of our community’s shuls and members is of prime importance for the OU,” said Rabbi Moshe Hauer, Executive Vice President of the OU. “The network of security volunteers that CSS has trained and supports is an invaluable resource for our community. Partnership with CSS and helping connect more of our congregations with their network will enable members of the OU community to practice our freedom of worship with greater freedom from fear.”
To ensure the new partnership remains a priority for both organizations, a regular cadence of meetings will be coordinated between CSS’ senior leadership, security and training experts and OU leadership to discuss ongoing opportunities to strengthen the collaboration and encourage a more robust participation in volunteer security.
CSS is the leading Jewish volunteer security nonprofit organization in the United States. Founded in 2007, CSS is focused on training volunteers in basic security procedures to help protect their institutions and events across the country. Through programs developed by foremost industry security experts, and tailored to various levels of interest and ability, volunteers learn to identify suspicious activity and prevent and respond to potential threatening situations in coordination with law enforcement and communal partners. To date, the CSS has a national network of over 6000 trained volunteers, protecting hundreds of synagogues and events each year. Visit thecss.org.
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union is the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization in the United States. Through a wide array of programs, the OU works to support the flourishing of Jewish life and observance. Among other initiatives, the OU has been a leader in Jewish community security – spearheading the creation and annual funding of the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program and many state funded security grant programs as well as a key conduit for Orthodox Jewish community relations with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.