The time is now to secure our future. Because what happens to one of us, happens to all of us.
Federation CJA has taken on the responsibility of leading a collaborative, community-wide effort to increase security preparedness and confidence through our newly formed Community Security Network. In partnership with experts in the field, we are developing best practices to enhance the safety, security and resilience of our schools, synagogues, and Jewish institutions.
But we cannot do it alone. It is all of our responsibility to make sure that our community, and everyone in it, is safe. Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh – All Jews are responsible for one another.
THE COMMUNITY SECURITY NETWORK WILL:
DEVELOP COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNITY-WIDE, AS WELL AS INSTITUTION- SPECIFIC, SECURITY PROTOCOLS
ESTABLISH ONGOING SECURITY TRAINING FOR INSTITUTIONS' STAFF
USE CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY TO ENABLE CONSISTENT MONITORING OF JEWISH INSTITUTIONS
TRAIN AND VET A THIRD PARTY SECURITY FIRM
Dear members of the community,
A few days before Purim, and a series of Jewish holidays that will take place in April, we want to assure you that several measures will be taken to contribute to the smooth running of the various festivities.
Police visibility will be increased in important places and around gathering places, especially synagogues. If necessary and as much as possible, the patrol officers will make courtesy calls during the gathering times. We are aware of certain constraints related to the use of cell phones on specific days, and assure you that the police will be advised to pay special attention during rallies during these days.
In addition, in order to maintain a safe environment for both your community and all citizens of the neighborhood, we remind you of some important safety rules:
- Avoid suits that are too long so as not to trip;
- Choose costumes with bright colors to be visible;
- Avoid masks and choose makeup for children that will allow them to hear and be visible;
- Walk in a group and avoid running;
- Avoid walking on the road, and stay on lighted streets;
- Avoid driving if you have been drinking alcohol or any other substance that may impair your ability
- While wishing you happy holidays, we remind you not to hesitate to contact us if necessary, and especially to call 911 for any emergency.
Chief of 26 police station
Jacques Bisson and David Zarfati, Federation CJA's Director and Assistant Director of Security respectively, are working hard behind the scenes every day to ensure that every member of our community is able to live their life freely, safely and proudly as a Jew.
As the central organizing body for the Montreal Jewish community, Federation CJA has always been concerned with community safety, but our role has significantly expanded in recent years with the increase of antisemitic incidents and violent hate crimes worldwide, even close to home. Last year, we spearheaded the creation of the Community Security Network (CSN) – an initiative to strengthen and streamline security protocols and infrastructure for local Jewish schools, synagogues, agencies and institutions. This collaborative, preventive approach ensures that security stays at the forefront of each organization’s decision-making.
Our efforts have been successful because of the unique partnership between Jacques and David, whose complementary backgrounds and expertise provide a local and international perspective on today's best security practices. Jacques is our liaison with the Montreal police and oversees all community security, throughout the Province of Québec. David is often on the road, visiting the CSN's 44 buildings to implement infrastructure upgrades and security trainings.
Jacques was born and raised in Montreal North. His police officer father inspired him to join the force himself right out of college, and he spent 29 years with the SPVM, working his way up to the position of police commander. While he officially retired in 2015, he only made it two weeks off the job before joining the security team at Federation CJA. Among many other contributions, he has been instrumental in developing communication and trust between the Jewish community and local law enforcement.
Prior to this role, Jacques had very little opportunity to have much interaction with the Jewish community. “I was astonished to see how the community is structured to help people at each and every stage: young entrepreneurs, school kids, the elderly, Holocaust survivors…”, Bisson says. “If everybody worked like this, the world would be a better place.”
David is originally from Haifa. After completing his mandatory IDF service, he spent 10 years working as an Israeli intelligence officer before coming to Montreal in 2017 to be the head of security at the Israeli Consulate. He joined Federation CJA's security team last year.
Although David has only been in Montreal a short time, it has already become a second home. He and his young family always have multiple invitations to Shabbat dinners, and if they need a doctor, or a lawyer, or anything for the baby, he knows that someone will be there to help right away. "Through my work, I have had the opportunity to travel all over the world, and I can tell you that Montreal's Jewish community is very special", Zarfati says. "It is an honour to be able to work every day to protect it."
Whether you go to synagogue regularly, work out at the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA, or use any of the services provided by Ometz or the Cummings Centre, Jacques and David's vigilance touches every aspect of Jewish life. We are grateful to have this dynamic team protecting the Montreal Jewish community, and also empowering us to be proactive about our own safety.
Remember that the most important rule is, if you see something, say something. In case of emergency, please immediately call 9-1-1, and also report all incidents to our hotline at 514-343-4343.
Stabbing incident in Monsey, New York by Jacques Bisson, Director, Community Security, Federation CJAWe are shocked and heartbroken by Saturday’s vicious attack in Monsey, New York, in which five Hasidic Jews were stabbed while celebrating the seventh night of Chanukah at a rabbi’s house. (more)