Commit to the Community Safety Pledge
Download the Community Safety Pledge [PDF] for the text below PLUS suggestions for how to work with your community to implement this pledge.
Whoever destroys a single life is considered to have destroyed the whole world, and whoever saves a single life is considered to have saved the whole world. – Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5
After the horrific attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last Saturday, more Jews than ever around the country are asking—how can we protect our people? How do we ensure that the choices we make prioritize everyone’s safety and keep our values and humanity intact?
Our institution/organization/community ___________________________ pledges to develop a community safety plan that aims to honor all who come through our doors. We know that safety and danger mean different things to different people given our varied and layered experiences of oppression. We will continue to seek out best practices to further develop this plan, knowing that we may not yet have all the answers, but that this effort is sacred and essential.
We know that antisemitism is a pillar of white supremacy, and that as white supremacy rears its head more brazenly, so does antisemitism. In recognizing the very real need for safety in synagogues and Jewish communal spaces, we must be skeptical of calls made by Trump and others to increase police presence in our community spaces.
Investing in increased police presence and security will militarize our community spaces. It will make synagogues and Jewish communal spaces less safe for Jews of color, trans Jews, Jews with disabilities, and other beloved members of our communities. This type of investment is also, for our allies and comrades in Muslim and immigrant communities and communities of color, a barrier to entering our spaces. Our community spaces should be places of refuge for us all.
People targeted by state-enforced violence in our country have had to do this work for centuries, and we are grateful to learn from the wisdom they’ve developed. The strategies include interfaith collaboration and crisis de-escalation, as well as long-term interventions such as creating alternative safety teams, rapid response networks, and broader cultural education around antisemitism and white supremacy. Increasing police presence, bringing guns into our spaces, and expanding formal security forces will likely increase tensions and issues, not lessen them, in many cases. We don’t yet have all of the answers and systems that we need, but we are called to have unending creativity about what they could look like. We are committed to developing these alternatives alongside community partners and allies who have deep experience building systems of safety and communal protection beyond police.
This pledge was compiled by Jews spanning organizations and synagogues who have used these tools, in partnership with our allies in the NYC police accountability movement.