Quick answers and official information on everything related to the Community Security Service (CSS)
Questions about CSS
American Jews are fortunate to be one of the most diverse and accepted communities in Jewish history. However, during the last several years, we have experienced a dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents, including deadly attacks on synagogues and other Jewish institutions. In its annual Hate Crime Statistics report, the FBI continuously lists record numbers of violent anti-Jewish crimes, with nearly 60 percent of religiously motivated hate crimes targeting Jews. Similarly, according to the Anti-Defamation Leage (ADL), antisemitic incidents surged to historically high levels in recent years, tabulating 3,697 incidents throughout the country in 2022. CSS’ community security model makes a critical contribution to the overall security architecture of the American Jewish community.
CSS provides professional-level security training to Jewish community members. It also trains and coordinates security teams comprised of community volunteers. All CSS training follow a methodology developed by leading security experts to identify, prevent and respond to security incidents. Additionally, as CSS security team members belong to the organization that they protect, CSS provides an unparalleled means to embed security awareness within the Jewish community in a scalable and sustainable way. Our vision is to create an informed and engaged community that fully adopts the notion that security is everyone’s responsibility. This “culture of responsibility” is one of the most crucial steps that any Jewish organization can take in boosting their security preparedness.
The majority of the funding has always stemmed from individual donors and foundations. CSS prides itself in removing the barrier of cost from the need to secure Jewish communities. CSS has been tremendously fortunate to receive significant support from major Jewish foundations and several Jewish federations, allowing us to provide a quality and welcoming security experience, while at the same time, saving millions of dollars in costs to institutions.
Is CSS the right for your institution?
This question requires a conversation and a review of our various programs – both virtual and in-person. We welcome you to apply for membership to the CSS network by submitting this form. Or, you can email [email protected] with your inquiry.
CSS is proud of its record of protecting institutions and events that span the full diversity of the American Jewish community, regardless of religious stream, political orientation, or size. We work closely with orthodox, conservative, reform synagogues, and a wide variety of other Jewish organizations. We also partner with local law enforcement agencies in the respective regions where we operate.
We take seriously the halachic issues that present themselves around security work so that all Jewish communities can fully participate in our activities. We have consulted with many Poskim and have certain policies and Heterim in place so that all observant Jews can volunteer as needed.
How can I help?
As a nonprofit organization, all of our training courses are free of charge for participating institutions and volunteers, and we work hard to match volunteers to the appropriate training for their role in the community. Naturally, not all courses are suitable for everyone, and unfortunately we do not have resources to provide all our programs in every community. All applications are confidential and CSS reserves the right to refuse admission to anyone seeking to become a volunteer. Please note that applicants may be required to submit references, participate in a background check and take part in an interview process.
There are many ways you can help improve the security of your community and even lead efforts to establish a CSS volunteer security presence, regardless of your affiliation or status as a synagogue member. If you are interested in spearheading a CSS program into your area, please let us know in via our contact page.