December 2015
Dear Congregants:
Safety and security has been an ongoing concern at this synagogue for many years. Ever since we first locked our doors following the September 11th attacks, we’ve tried to control building access through the use of cameras, magnetic door locks, and uniformed police officers on certain occasions. We keep the doors locked as often as possible. We pay attention to alerts issued by a multitude of organizations and agencies. We remain in close contact with the Fort Lee Police and have sought advice from both the county and the state.
Throughout this time, we’ve tried not to forget that we are a house of worship. During our services, we have welcomed members and visitors with open arms and open doors. We’ve tried to keep an eye on the entrance but that seems inadequate in this increasingly violent, unpredictable world. It’s time to be far more diligent.
The time has clearly come to take active measures to improve our security during service times. We are now posting a security guard at the main building entrance (on Anderson Avenue) during Shabbat services both Friday night and Saturday morning. This enables us to maintain an “open to visitors” policy while monitoring the entrance carefully. We already have a security guard at the Hebrew School entrance on Sunday mornings.
At all other times throughout the week when staff, congregants and guests are in the building, including during daily minyan services, the doors will be locked. Please be aware of the following regarding building access:

1.       During office hours (Monday through Thursday from 9 am-5 pm & Fridays from 9 am-3 pm), we will continue to monitor building entrances by camera. Everyone requesting access has to identify themselves and/or explain what brings them here. Our cameras are excellent and we can see visitors clearly on the monitors before letting them in.

 2.       There are keypads at both the front and parking lot entrances. We are issuing a 4-digit code to our members that can be used for access at all times. Please do not share this code with anyone outside our membership or let anyone you don’t know come in with you when you enter the building. (The code is available by clicking here. You’ll need a password to open this link, which will be emailed to you separately.)
 3.       We have installed a dedicated doorbell to alert the minyan if someone is at the front entrance who wants to attend the service but does not have an access code. A regular attendee will go to the door and see who wants to come in before opening the door.

Security is everyone’s concern and responsibility. Any measures we take will require an equal amount of cooperation and diligence from all of you. It may be inconvenient and even difficult at times to get in the building, particularly for an evening meeting, class or tutoring session. Please make sure you have the entry code with you and, again, do not offer access to anyone you don’t know when you enter the building.

Finally, the Board of Trustees has enacted a modest assessment to our membership for the cost of this additional security. This Special Security Assessment is $50 for families and $25 for single members. You’ll see it on your next statement.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Martha Dawson
Executive Director