Friday, November 3, 2017

Dear Fellow Temple Isaiah Members,

This email includes important information about security measures and related issues at Temple Isaiah. We ask that you please read this message in its entirety.

Our security company is S.D.M. Security Services, Inc. S.D.M. provides security services to several synagogues in Los Angeles county and has been providing such services to Temple Isaiah for over four years. The firm’s leadership includes a former law enforcement officer who has served with four different police agencies on state, municipal and educational (school police) levels in Southern California and a former member of the U.S. Marine Corps. The firm is also well connected to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Temple Isaiah is also part of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation’s Community Security Initiative (CSI), which provides an ongoing professional conversation and sharing of best practices regarding security and safety among LA’s Jewish institutions. In addition, congregants, including Temple Board members, and staff serve on the Temple Safety and Security committee that meets to assess performance, strengths and concerns.

As part of our normal operations, we review our security procedures and make changes as appropriate. In consultation with S.D.M. and other local resources, at the September 13, 2017 meeting, our Board of Trustees voted to arm our lead security guards to augment protection for our community. We take this step with caution and thought knowing that we remain committed to ensuring a warm and welcoming environment for all our members and for others entering our premises. Nonetheless, we confronted the reality that religious sites have been threatened and, in some instances, harmed throughout our country, and there is a perception of increased vulnerability for minority communities.

The changes that we are making have financial costs, and there are concerns as to whether arming our guards is the right response as we weigh circumstances in our world today and unease within our community. Our Board did consider these costs and concerns in making its decision. We also recognize that our security procedures may inconvenience your entry at times, and please know this is being done to protect every member of our community.

The added financial cost of this change is the responsibility of all members of our community, and as a result, for this 2017-2018 fiscal year, there will an additional assessment of security fees as follows: $100 for each child in Preschool; $50 for each child in Religious School; and $10 for all other Temple member units. This additional assessment will be billed to each member of our community within the coming weeks.

The safety of our community is very important, and we trust members will be patient and respectful to our security staff who have our best interests in mind and will enforce our procedures.

We thank you for your understanding and patience, and if you have questions or want more information, please contact Executive Director, Michael Cantor, Temple President, David Leichenger, or any one of our Clergy.

Michael Cantor, Executive Director
David Leichenger, Temple President
Rabbi Zoë Klein Miles
Rabbi Dara Frimmer
Rabbi Joel Nickerson
Cantor Tifani Coyot