Update from Phil Malcom

Happy Friday, and it’s nice to speak with all of you again!

As a part of the JFO’s new leadership structure, you’ll occasionally receive brief updates from me regarding the operations of our campus—how we do business and what we measure. Think of it as the nuts and bolts of how we accomplish our mission. Today I want to talk to you about one of those ways we’re working hard to accomplish the mission behind the scenes.

One of the most important parts of building and sustaining a vibrant Jewish community is ensuring that people feel safe in the spaces where community happens. We’ve spoken quite a bit over the last year about security, and today I’m thrilled to announce the next step in our ongoing efforts to provide a safe and secure campus. Last year we brought James Donahue on board to guide our security initiatives and help us plan for the future. We quickly identified the need for dedicated security officers in our building. This is a growing trend in other communities, and the need is no less important in Omaha where so many of our services are housed in one place. Our team got to work identifying ways to scale this needed resource, and we are now ready to begin adding security officers to our team.

We will be partnering with a local security provider, Elite Tactical, for this service. James led a very thorough bidding and vetting process with a panel of campus representatives, and Elite was the clear frontrunner at the end of this process. Elite has been an excellent partner to our campus on an ad hoc basis over the last couple years, and we are thrilled to bring them here full-time.

In the very near future, you can expect to see at least one armed guard in the building at all times. These guards are thoroughly trained by Elite Tactical, and they also undergo training from our team to ensure they are familiar with our campus, respect our Jewish values, and understand the unique service offerings throughout our facility. We have every confidence in this new partnership, and we believe that between James’s leadership, our own updated security procedures, and our new security force we are positioning our community to be more secure than ever.

Some may hear about this and wonder if there is cause for alarm. James monitors threats to the Jewish community both locally and nationally, and though there are currently no credible threats of violence against our Omaha community, we believe the best posture is preventative, rather than reactive. Similarly, in an age of growing antisemitism, we want people to feel safe on our campus. So please don’t be alarmed, and instead know that we are doing everything we can to ensure that our communal spaces are secure for your visit. This is critical to our mission, and we are excited to be taking the next steps forward as a community.

If you have any questions about the new security force on campus, please don’t hesitate to reach out to James Donahue. He can be reached at jdonahue@jewishomaha.org.

Thank you, and Shabbat Shalom,

Phillip Malcom