The Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) held a community security meeting on Sept. 5, drawing city and Jewish leaders.
The gathering at the Beverly Hills Public Library’s 2nd floor auditorium brought together Mayor Dr. Julian Gold, Councilmember Sharona Nazarian, BHPD officers, local rabbis, security officials and others. Rabbi Yossi Eilfort, president of Magen Am, a nonprofit that provides security services to Jewish organizations, along with representatives of Nessah Synagogue, Chabad of Beverly Hills and Beth Jacob Congregation were also in attendance at the recent event.
Held ten days before the start of the High Holidays, the meeting included a presentation on current crime statistics while offering guidance on how to provide a safe High Holidays experience for those who’ll be attending synagogue. And for those in the observant Jewish community who don’t use phones during the holidays, the gathering’s speakers discussed how to effectively navigate police conduct without the use of electronic devices.
“This was something I thought was important for our community to participate in,” Nazarian told the Courier. “A lot of the Orthodox in our community don’t carry phones on High Holidays. So, for the community to be safe, we put together a meeting to be proactive and address concerns and to let them know about what programs are available.”
Rosh Hashanah begins Sept. 15, and Yom Kippur starts Sept. 24.
BHPD is taking several steps to ensure the safety of those who will be celebrating this month. According to BHPD Lt. and Public Information Officer Reginald Evans, the city’s police will have increased visibility during the holidays, conduct extra patrols and special watches at synagogues and supplement its sworn patrol officers with the Real Time Watch Center’s virtual patrol officers.
“In addition, we listen to the needs of the synagogues and try to address their specific needs,” Evans said. “Many have their own private security and at times, armed security. If security personnel are on scene, they are often the first to address a potential threat. However, there is a high probability that the security staff would be identified as witnesses to a potential threat.”
Nazarian said the most important step an individual can take toward ensuring their personal safety is maintaining contact with local law enforcement.
“Communication is key, and we want to empower our community. If you see something, say something. If you hear something going on, or if your services are going late—some services go past 11 p.m. on Yom Kippur—encourage everyone to let the police know so there will be increased patrols as people walk home,” Nazarian said. “Communicate with our police. They are there to support you.”