Impact Stories:

Securing the Jewish Community: How We’re Fighting Antisemitism Together

In these challenging times, safety isn't just a concern—it's a necessity.

Increase Since Oct. 7
In Antisemitic Incidents in Pittsburgh
In External Support
In Addition to Private Donations
154 Incidents
Of Antisemitism
To Date in 2024

Antisemitic incidents rose over 300% in Pittsburgh since the October 7, 2023 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel. This explosion in hate crimes sadly came to the forefront again in early June for Bloomfield resident Rebecca Wells.

Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle reported that she and her husband discovered flyers with “pictures of mangled bodies” placed on their car windshield twice. Subsequently, during a confrontation with a neighbor, Rebecca was told to take her own life. Later that evening, someone removed their “We Stand With Israel” and “Black Lives Matter” signs from their yard.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is well-acquainted with the alarming increase in antisemitism and has taken action. The Wells family assisted the police using their exterior home security cameras, and the Federation has further enhanced this crime-fighting technology with the introduction of the Virtual Block Watch program.

Imagine having a neighborhood watch that remains perpetually vigilant. In the Virtual Block Watch program, residents voluntarily agree to share video footage in case of incidents within their neighborhood. It’s akin to an extended security team comprised of your friends and neighbors, all supporting one another and empowering everyone to help prevent, deter and occasionally solve crimes.

Thanks to your support, the Jewish Federation’s comprehensive security measures ensure that no one confronts the rise in threats alone. These measures include physical security enhancements, educational programs like Community Active Threat Training, monitoring incident patterns and fostering strong connections with local law enforcement. As a result, not only have arrest been made; more crucially, reported suspicious behavior has been identified, mitigating potential incidents before they escalate into crimes.

Covering the costs of security can be expensive. To address this, the Federation’s security team leverages private donations to seek foundation and government support. This strategy has brought in millions of additional dollars for Jewish agencies and synagogues, helping offset security expenses. Since the program’s inception in 2018, the Federation has secured over $8 million in external support beyond private contributions.

Being aware of the robust security infrastructure in Jewish Pittsburgh provides a sense of security, support and reduces fear for everyone participating in Jewish life. It's all part of Federation's commitment to strengthening Jewish life, supporting those in need and building a safer, more inclusive world

More information can be found on the Virtual Block Watch webpage.

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