National Jewish groups discuss security with top U.S. officials

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish community leaders met with the U.S. homeland security secretary and other top U.S. security agencies staff to discuss protection for Jewish institutions.

Jeh Johnson and his deputy, Alejandro Mayorkas, “underscored the Department’s continued efforts to expand partnerships with faith-based and community organizations and state and local officials on civil rights and civil liberties to safeguard local communities,” said a DHS statement released after the event in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

After the meeting with Johnson, Mayorkas helped lead a tabletop simulation of an attack on Jewish institutions that included leaders of an array of national Jewish groups and representatives from DHS, the FBI and state police agencies.

The simulation underscored “the importance of community engagement to effectively protect communities from violent extremist threats,” the DHS statement said.

The exercise was planned before last month’s deadly attack on a black church in Charleston, S.C.

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