Hate crimes have continued to rise in the state of Florida over the past several years, according to an ADL study. In particular, hate crimes against Jewish people accounted for 80% of religiously motivated incidents in 2020.

To enhance the safety of Jewish institutions across Miami-Dade County, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation (Federation) and the Community Security Service (CSS) have announced a partnership enabling Jewish congregations to play a more active role in their security through organized volunteer-driven programs and training opportunities.

The partnership comes at a time of rising antisemitism and extremism, with Jewish houses of worship remaining targets for acts of violence, vandalism and hate crimes. Since 2016, Federation’s Office of Community Security (OCS) has worked closely with synagogues, day schools and other organizations across Miami-Dade County to ensure the protection of the community. Today, it works with 160 Jewish institutions and programs and is the primary agency that liaises directly with local law enforcement.

The Federation-CSS security partnership will include multi-level security training programs for synagogues, institutions and events. Additionally, the two entities will maintain regular lines of communication and information-sharing regarding security-related issues as they arise.

“Federation believes volunteer-driven security is a force-multiplier in a world that requires hypervigilance amid the threat landscape to the Jewish community,” said Jacob Solomon, Federation President and CEO. “While we have devoted a significant amount of resources to make us safer in recent years, we understood that the volunteer security model is an additional component and a critical layer to how we safeguard our institutions.”