I am grateful to be in communication with you regarding our intentional security procedures to provide safety and to be inclusive for marginalized identities.

First, please know there are no new or credible threats directed at Rodeph Shalom, other Jewish organizations, schools, or daycare centers in the region at this time. 

We maintain close and active ties with law enforcement and security organizations. This includes local, regional, and Federal law enforcement agencies. Rodeph Shalom, as well as our security partners, receive constant updates on risks and threats in the local and regional environment. We work with them based on the contents of the updates. We participate in government security agency briefings on how the situation in Israel may affect Jewish organizations and steps to consider.

Rodeph Shalom has a close relationship with the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD). Armed police officers are at RS during services and high profile events, in addition to our security team. The police response time, in case of a dangerous situation here, is between 1-2 minutes. We have direct access to PPD leadership, which we can use when warranted, to increase the depth and breadth of communications and coordination.

We receive briefings, intelligence, and security advice from the Jewish Federation, which is updated regularly by FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Our security consultants receive updates and security bulletins from multiple sources including the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center, the regional intelligence fusion center. The PPD provides specific warnings if it has information that could affect us directly, including nearby police activity. These channels help us to be informed on possible threats and countermeasures.

Our building has added security features, which provide multiple layers of protection that are not made public. There are both active and passive measures for security, much of it funded by significant State and Federal security grants. On the personnel side, in addition to the guard at the front desk, a security role is performed by additional staff members. We regularly conduct security training and drills, as well as fire drills, to help staff be better prepared to handle emergencies. 

One of the most important protections is for everyone to remain vigilant, aware of their surroundings, be proactive in protecting our people and facility, and to cooperate fully with important security measures. This includes avoiding “tailgating” through external doors, not allowing strangers to enter, never sharing access codes and shielding the keypad when entering a code, reporting suspicious or unusual conditions immediately to our security staff, and helping to keep the building secure.

I hope this provides you with additional perspective and reassurance.

Jeffrey W. Katz
Executive Director