Rabbi Arye D. Gordon.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, the Los Angeles Community, its leaders, parents and concerned individuals attended a special community panel discussion, whose goal was: to bring awareness to potential dangers, to share knowledge on ways to protect our children, to safeguard our community and to provide security in our schools, shuls and community centers.
The program was held on May 7th in the Nessah Congregation of Beverly Hills, the Host Sponsor of the Event along with Laniado Hospital. It was initiated by Laniado Hospital, members of staff, and organized by Laniado’s Los Angeles Director, Urie Lieberman.
The discussion was directed by Panel Chairman, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Titled “Community Responsibility – Community Preparedness,” the panel adroitly awakened the Los Angeles Community for the need to be aware and prepared if, chas vshalom, disaster strikes.
Laniado Hospital made a major presentation covering the key points to follow to insure community preparedness. Mr. Yaki Lopez, Consul for Political Affairs Los Angeles Israeli Consulate, delivered greetings and Mr. Ivan Wolkind, CFO and Chairman of Ad Hoc Security committee of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, presented the various programs and plans put in place by the Federation to assist the community in security preparedness. Horace E. Frank, Assistant Commanding Officer Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau LAPD, offered his insights into generating a feasible plan for Los Angelinos.
Each panel member provided background and preparedness protocols to be initiated and followed by community leaders. The overall message was loud and clear. It is all too common for us to be complacent and not take seriously the real and ever present danger. With the introduction of various preparedness plans and our recognition that potential danger is not a fantasy, when the time comes, we will be able to respond properly and productively.
In summing up the day’s event, Lieberman said, “The event itself was an eye opener and it is heartening to know that there are those in the community who are taking a proactive approach to the potential danger and getting others involved as well. Eight different institutions sent representatives and we look at that as an accomplishment. It is clear however, that much more has to be done within the orthodox community and we must encourage involvement and understanding of the problem. We can’t remain oblivious to the events around us. We must wake up and take a proactive position, each institution working out a contingency plan and practicing it. We must take advantage of the Federation’s special community security initiative. Under the direction of its new dynamic CFO, Ivan Wolkind, the Los Angeles Federation is opening their doors to all shuls and schools and asking for their participation and offering the assistance of the Federation.”
Another positive outcome to the event is that the Special Implementation Committee for designing an overall security and community preparedness plan established by the West Coast Friends of Laniado Hospital, will be meeting on a regular basis.