By COLlive reporter
Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the Chabad-Lubavitch arm overseeing activities of Chabad Houses worldwide, had announced this week the formation of a security and safety service.
In the wake of the terror attack on Chabad of Mumbai – resulting in the brutal killing of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife Rivka and another 7 Jews – The Chabad-Lubavitch Security Commission (CLSC) will guide and assist Shluchim and directors of institutions.
In an email memo to Chabad emissaries Wednesday, Chairman of Merkos Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky wrote: “The Commission, with the assistance of professionals who are familiar with security/anti-terror measures, will distribute relevant information to Shluchim, as well as make recommendations which can be adapted and implemented locally.”
The Commission is said to have had several meetings and communications with leading members of the United States Department of State, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and various private security companies.
“They all agree that an essential element regarding security is to assure proper and unincumbered channels of communication,” Krinsky said. “This will help facilitate the gathering of information, assessing potential threats and taking appropriate immediate action etc.”
After the Mumbai attack, Paul Goldenberg, national director of Secure Community Network, told AP: “The challenge is it’s a very open organization, a very transparent organization and an organization that has a tremendous and very effective outreach project. It’s very tough for them to secure themselves.”
Sue Fishkoff, author of The Rebbe’s Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch, added then that in her travels overseas to research her book security measures weren’t apparent at Chabad houses she visited, although she was aware that some safeguards were in place.
“I don’t see how Chabad centers would be able to increase security and still fulfill their mission of being open and welcoming to anyone who steps inside,” said Fishkoff, who writes for JTA, the Jewish news service.
Setting up a 24 hour hotline and email address, Krinsky asked: “If there are any incidents or suspicious activities which appear to be “irregular,” that information should be immediately sent to the aforementioned Commission’s attention.”