FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
QUESTIONS ABOUT CSS
Why is there a need for CSS?
Jews in the United States are fortunate to be one of the most diverse and accepted communities in all of Jewish history. However, during the last several years, American Jews have experienced a dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents, including deadly attacks on synagogues and other Jewish institutions. For example, in its most recent annual Hate Crime Statistics report, the FBI listed a record number of violent anti-Jewish crimes, and found that nearly 60 percent of religiously motivated hate crimes targeted Jews. Similarly, according to ADL, antisemitic incidents surged to historically high levels in 2020. CSS’ volunteer security model makes a critical contribution to the overall security architecture of the American Jewish community.
What does CSS uniquely add to the security of the Jewish community?
CSS trains and coordinates security teams composed of community volunteers. These teams are professionally trained to follow a methodology developed by leading security organizations and experts to identify suspicious activity and address security and safety situations long before they escalate into serious incidents. Additionally, since security team members also 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 synagogue, school, or Jewish organization can take in boosting their security preparedness.
Who pays for CSS?
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 FIT FOR YOUR INSTITUTION?
How do I find out if CSS is right for my 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 simply email [email protected] with your inquiry.
What Jewish organizations and synagogues does CSS work with?
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, and reform synagogues, JCCs, schools, and a wide variety of other Jewish organizations and local Federations. We also partner with local law enforcement agencies in the respective regions where we operate.
What about the halachic considerations of CSS operating during Shabbat and Jewish holidays?
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
Who can take a training course to become a volunteer?
As a nonprofit organization, all of our training courses are free of charge 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 be active in every community.
All applications are confidential and CSS reserves the right to refuse admission to any of its training. Please note that all applicants will be required to submit references prior to an initial interview.
I don’t live in a CSS area but I want to take part in this effort. What can I do?
There are many ways you can help improve the security of your community and foster an improved awareness for the need for volunteer security, regardless of your affiliation or status as a synagogue member. From making a small donation, to simply spreading the word about our programs, you can help us build awareness of this commonsense approach to securing our community long employed by Jewish communities outside of the United States for decades. If you have a special skill or would like to volunteer in an administrative capacity, please let us know in the general inquiry form on our contact page.
If you would like to inquire about starting a CSS team in your region, you can also let us know through the general inquiry form.