Security is Tightened at NYC Jewish Institutions


nypdExactly 12 minutes after the 911 call reporting the shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Wednesday, an NYPD paramilitary team descended on New York’s Holocaust museum. Minutes later, heavily armed counterterrorism teams rushed to guard the city’s other Jewish-linked sites that could become targets of violence. Around the clock, on any given day, police SWAT teams with M16 rifles patrol a city with the largest Jewish population outside Israel “ready to jump if anything happens,” said David Pollock, who monitors security at 60 major Jewish organizations as liaison to the NYPD for the Jewish Community Relations Council.On Wednesday, something dreaded did happen – in Washington, where a white supremacist fatally shot a guard at the museum.

Yesterdayin New York, shuls and other high-profile Jewish locations boosted their security – most acting silently lest they draw attention to themselves and become targets.

But Jewish leaders urged people to visit their institutions “as a statement against hate and ignorance, which were the underlying motives for the shooting,” said David G. Marwell, director of New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

Just five blocks from the World Trade Center site, the museum has airport-style metal detectors to screen visitors.

After the Washington shooting, the NYPD assigned extra patrols to Jewish institutions around the city “until we determined that it wasn’t part of a broader plot that might include New York,” Paul Browne, the department’s top spokesman, said yesterday.

Officers were dispatched to 60 locations including the Museum of Jewish Heritage and Yeshiva University in the Bronx, as well as two synagogues there targeted by four men charged with plotting to blow them up last month.

Pollock said an NYPD critical-response team arrived at the Manhattan museum within 12 minutes of the 911 call in Washington.

Wearing black helmets and armed with high-powered rifles, “they’re constantly moving around the city in black SUVs, and they respond to Jewish institutions if there’s a specific threat,” Pollock said. “But they’re also a tremendous deterrent.”

The Center for Jewish History in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, a partnership of five Jewish institutions, was protected this week by these NYPD “Hercules” units that include undercover officers, sharpshooters and anti-terrorism experts.

“Security is as high as it can get,” said Michael Glickman, the center’s chief administrative officer.

{Elisha Newscenter/Newsday}