Coming next week: UN General Assembly

September 16, 2014
UN General Assembly, closing session 2014

Are you thinking about going anywhere in Manhattan next week? Plan ahead. The UN General Assembly and associated meetings are scheduled from September 22nd until September 27th. Hundreds of heads of state, foreign ministers, diplomats and other officials move around the city and snarl traffic. Expect to see a heightened police presence at hotels and other venues around the city.

The NYPD and DOT do their best to minimize the intrusion on New Yorker’s lives, but please allow sufficient time for delays in Midtown East. Streets throughout the city will close as motorcades proceed from meeting to meeting…reception to reception.

The area around the  UN is significantly affected. View a map of the pre-determined street closings here.

More info on the NYS Sandy grant opportunity

August 01, 2013
Thanks to Edie Mesick of UJA-Federation of NY’s Government Relations Department for digesting and distributing information on this opportunity. The latest information can be found immediately below. Scroll down for the information on the grant.

Additional information has been posted by NYS OCFS on the Federal SSBG RFP opportunity for funding for certain Superstorm Sandy losses not covered by other resources. Use this link to view the Q&A post.

From our brief review, of particular interest are the following points:

  1. Houses of Worship and Parochial and private schools are eligible to apply for this funding (assuming that the services are provided to a population that was directly impacted by Sandy and that the program meets all other eligibility requirements).
  2. Insurance deductibles are eligible for reimbursement under the Sandy SSBG.
  3. For sites that were damaged that you rent, the entity responsible for the building would have to be an eligible applicant.

Use this link to view the bidder’s conference and access the PowerPoint used during the conference, for more insight that might help you in determining whether to apply for this funding.

Hint: In order to be considered for this grant all not-for-profit organizations must be prequalified in the Grants Gateway by the time of contract award. To register go here.

Superstorm Sandy Social Services Block Grant (SandySSBG)

NYS has $200,034,600 in federal Superstorm Sandy Social Services Block Grant (Sandy SSBG) funding for eligible health and human services providers. Sandy SSBG resources are dedicated to covering necessary expenses resulting from Superstorm Sandy, including social, health and mental health services for individuals, and for repair, renovation and rebuilding of health care facilities, mental hygiene facilities, child care facilities and other social services facilities.

Sandy SSBG funding must be used for costs that are 1) directly related to Superstorm Sandy and populations that were impacted by it; and 2) not reimbursed and not currently eligible for reimbursement by the federal government (including FEMA), private insurance and any other public or private funding sources. Duplication of benefits is prohibited. Read More More info on the NYS Sandy grant opportunity

Protecting your cyberlives

July 31, 2013

DHS has an excellent resource: the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). Their website has information ranging from Computer Security 101 to advanced information for IT professionals.

Remember: Scams, bots and viruses continue to proliferate. Use caution when opening email messages and take the following preventive measures to protect themselves from phishing scams and malware campaigns.

  • Do not click on or submit any information to webpages.
  • Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages.
  • Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to the Security Tip Using Caution with Email Attachments for more information on safely handling email attachments.
  • Maintain up-to-date antivirus software.
  • Users who are infected should change all passwords AFTER removing the malware from their system.
  • Refer to the Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams (pdf) document for more information on avoiding email scams.
  • Refer to the Security Tip Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.

Other great information for non-techies from the US-CERT website.

Top 10 Ways to Improve the Security of a New Computer

  • Top 10 Ways to Improve the Security of a New Computer Because our computers have such critical roles in our lives and we trust them with so much personal information, it’s important to improve their security so we can continue to rely on them and keep our information safe.Virus Basics
  • Virus Basics Learn about viruses, what they can do to your systems, and how to avoid them and lessen their impact.
  • Home Network SecuritySecuring Wireless Networks In today’s connected world, almost everyone has at least one Internet-connected devices. With the number of these devices on the rise, it is important to implement a security strategy to minimize their potential for exploitation (see Securing the Internet of Things). Internet-connected devices may be used by nefarious entities to collect personal information, steal identities, compromise financial data, and silently listen to—or watch—users. However, taking a few precautions in the configuration and use of your devices can help prevent this type of activity.
  • Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites The popularity of social networking sites continues to increase. The nature of these sites introduces security risks, so you should take certain precautions.

Outrage against Williamsburg mezuzah arsons

April 09, 2013

BHa1JB8CAAAK47RA host of officials turned out this morning in support of the Williamsburg Jewish community to decry the burning of 11 mezuzot there.

David Pollock offered the following statement:

Williamsburg is a community of faith and the mezuzot affixed outside our doors represent our faith in the spiritual protection divinely promised to our ancestors in Egypt and extended to us throughout the centuries. No vandal, however filled with hate, could ever undermine that.

The fact that the vandals chose to strike on Holocaust Remembrance Day is especially horrifying. The physical protection of New York’s Jewish community is safeguarded by the NYPD. The Hate Crimes Task Force joined with the local precinct in order to muster every appropriate resource for the investigation. We have faith that they will apprehend those responsible so that they may face the full weight of our criminal justice system.

@UnitedJewish @chriscquinn @StephenLevin33 @scottmstringer @NydiaVelazquez @assemblymanjoe @TishJames @DanielSquadron @jcrc

Budget deal includes nonprofit grant program

March 21, 2013

Security grants updateThe Jewish Federations of North America applauds today’s Congressional approval of $10 million in new funding to nonprofits through the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP).

The allocation was included within the just-completed Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution. Though the win was hard fought amid difficult budget discussions, the approved funding will help ensure that a minimum of 127 grants for at-risk nonprofits will be available this year. These federal funds help bolster the security of nonprofit institutions deemed by the Department of Homeland Security to be vulnerable to terrorist attacks, including many Jewish organizations and institutions.

“We are grateful that nonprofits will once again benefit from this funding that is so critical to the ongoing safety of our communities,” said Michael Siegal, chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees. “These security grants are vital to the ongoing protection of at-risk institutions, enabling us to work, worship, gather and learn without fear.”

Threats to Jewish institutions continue to be a national security concern. Though the Nonprofit Security Grant Program has taken a number of funding hits in recent years, with funding at the $10 million level, the NSGP will be able to remain a program that is impactful, tangible and preventative.

“Since September 11, nonprofits generally, and Jewish communal institutions specifically, have been the targets of an alarming number of threats and attacks,” said William Daroff, JFNA’s vice president for Public Policy. “We are incredibly grateful for the bipartisan, bicameral support for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program as it is a proven, critical resource that helps supplement the work of local and federal law enforcement to help keep us safe.”

Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) has been the stalwart champion of the NSGP since co-sponsoring the establishment of the program with the late Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter. Sen. Mikulski’s efforts are supported by her Senate Appropriations counterpart, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), as well as House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Senate and House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee leaders including: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Rep. David Price (D-NC), among others.

JFNA thanked Congressional leaders and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano for their support of this vital program, and expressed gratitude to partners including the Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel, the Jewish Community Relations Councils of New York, Washington, Baltimore and Indianapolis, and Federation communities including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, Seattle, Boston and Las Vegas.

JFNA works with partners to sustain the program and serves as the leading technical resource to hundreds of Jewish grant applicants annually. JFNA continues to work with Congress to ensure that the NSGP continues in Fiscal Year 2014, and to press the Administration to support continuing and strengthening the NSGP in 2014.

“We are acutely aware of the dangers that exist for Jewish institutions in our communities,” added Daroff. “That is why the Jewish Federations and our partners urge the Administration and Congress to continue supporting this program and why we work with schools, synagogues, Federations and Jewish Community Centers to successfully guide them through the Homeland Security grant process.”

Created by Congress in 2005, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program has successfully carried out its mission to support nonprofit organizations that are at increased risk of terrorist threats and integrate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts.

JFNA, along with key communal partners, facilitated the establishment of the program, and spearheaded its own security initiative, the Secure Community Network. Since the program began, Congress has appropriated $138 million toward NSGP, which is distributed within designated high-risk areas across the country to help nonprofits acquire and install physical security enhancements intended to deter and detect terrorists and extremists.

Remembering Ari

March 01, 2013

Ari Halberstam Memorial Ramp

On the anniversary of the 1994 Brooklyn Bridge terrorist shootings, Devorah Halberstam speaks out about gun violence in the NY Daily NewsI know too well what guns can do and on NY1 Online: Ari Halberstam’s Mother Speaks Out On Gun Rights.

NY1 Online: Mother of Teen Murdered on Brooklyn Bridge Discusses Efforts to Honor Son’s Legacy. Twenty years after her son was murdered on the Brooklyn Bridge, Devorah Halberstam, the mother of Ari Halberstam, told Inside City Hall what she is doing to honor her son’s legacy and continue the fight against terrorism. (03/03/2014 09:55 PM)

Hurray! FEMA extends the nonprofit public assistance deadline

January 29, 2013

RPA Submission Date Extended to:

  • February 27, 2013 (Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond and Suffolk Counties);
  • March 2, 2013 (Rockland and Westchester Counties);
  • March 13, 2013 (Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster Counties);
  • February 16, 2013 (Greene County)

Our review of the submissions indicates that many organizations did not submit a complete application package consisting of:

  • Request for Public Assistance Form
  • Drug Free Workplace Form
  • Applicant Certification
  • OSC Substitute Form W-9
  • DUNS Number Form
  • State Tax Exempt Form / IRS Letter
  • PNP Questionnaire
  • Back-up Information
    • Organization Charter or By-laws
    • Publications/ brochures that describe your organization
    • Description of membership policies or fee structures

Applications missing critical elements will not be considered, so we urge you to check whether you submitted all of the items above. You can download all the forms here. Most nonprofit organizations are required to fill out an SBA application, too. Click here to find our SBA Nonprofit Application Checklist and forms (even if you do not intend to accept an SBA loan you must fill out these forms in order to satisfy the bureaucracy).

Should you have any questions or need assistance feel free to call Marcia Eisenberg (212.983.4800 x137) or David Pollock (212.983.4800 x132) or to email either at

Deadline extension for FEMA nonprofit assistance

November 27, 2012

Many kinds of nonprofit organizations that were affected by #Sandy are eligible for “public assistance” from FEMA. The grants cover at least 75% of an organization’s uninsured and underinsured damages and certain labor and equipment costs directly related to storm response. If you have any specific questions feel free to contact David Pollock (212.983.4800×132) or Marcia Eisenberg (212.983.4800×137) both can be reached at

Thanks to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, NY Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NYDHSES) Commissioner Jerome M. Hauer and its Chief of Public Assistance Christopher Holmes; the deadline for nonprofits applying for FEMA assistance is now December 30, 2012 January 28 February 27th in NYC, Nassau and Suffolk (see later posts for other counties).

We hear the collective sigh of relief, but remember: each nonprofit applicant will have a FEMA/NYDHSES team assigned on a first come-first served basis. Organizations should submit the complete Request for Public Assistance package as outlined below (found here) ASAP. You are not considered an applicant until all documentation is submitted. If you delay submitting the package you will be further back in the queue. To help the team assigned to you, try to make your initial submission as complete as possible.

If you have any specific questions feel free to contact David Pollock (212.983.4800×132) or Marcia Eisenberg (212.983.4800×137) both can be reached at

Read on for specific guidance to complete the forms.

Read More Deadline extension for FEMA nonprofit assistance

NYPD steps up security due to Gaza violence

November 16, 2012

Jewish institutions should take prudent measures to increase their  vigilance.

    • US Postal Inspection Service Guide to Mail Center Security (PDF) Written mainly for large organizations, the Guide will help all organizations to set up solid policies and procedures.
    • Sample Building Access Policies and Procedures (PDF) Learn how to balance the goals of having your institution be both welcoming and secure.
    • Security Awareness (PDF) Terrorist acts and other attacks are often preceded by active surveillance of a target location; learn how to detect hostile surveillance before an incident occurs. By Paul DeMatties, Senior Advisor on Corporate Security Programs and Director of the Counter-Terrorism Assessment Program, John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

The NYPD has stepped up security around the United Nations, various diplomatic missions and other sensitive sites throughout the city amid increased violence in Gaza, a department spokesman said Thursday.

There were no specific threats, but the security measures were put in place as a precaution as violence mounts in the Mideast, the spokesman said.

The increased security presence comes as Palestinian militants barraged Israel with nearly 150 rockets on Thursday, killing three people as Israel pressed a punishing campaign of airstrikes on militant targets across the Gaza Strip.

Israel launched the offensive on Wednesday, killing the head of Hamas’ militant wing and destroying dozens of rocket launchers.

Security Advisory: Pillar of Defense Operation in Gaza

November 14, 2012

ADL LogoToday, in response to intensified rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel began a military operation named “Operation Amud Anan” or “Pillar of Defense,” targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad leadership, and rocket launching sites and weapon storage facilities.

Between October 22-24, 2012, seventy-seven rockets were launched against Israel, and from November 3-4, 2012, more than 100 were launched, with many landing in Israeli population centers. Today, as part of this operation, an Israeli airstrike killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, who Israeli security sources say was responsible for anti-Israel terror activity emanating from the Gaza Strip over the past decade, including the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.

Individuals seeking retaliation for the operation may be drawn to Jewish or Israeli targets. ADL currently has no information regarding a specific threat against any Jewish institution. Nonetheless, it is worth taking extra precautions.

Below are strongly recommended action steps.

Action Steps

    • Review and practice security procedures.  In particular, review with all personnel their role in security.   Ensure that your staff members, including newly hired personnel, and all volunteers know what to do in the event of an emergency.
    • Instruct staff and congregants to keep their eyes and ears open for anything unusual or suspicious. (See more information below.)
    • Ensure that your institution’s rules and procedures dealing with who gets into your facility (access controls) are sufficient and enforced.
    • Review mail handling practices and procedures. If vigilance has slipped in mail and package delivery safety procedures, now is the time to revisit this area. (See more information below.)
    • Make sure that any security devices, communications equipment, and/or video cameras are working properly and being properly used.
    • Connect with local law enforcement to discuss security.  If you have not established personal relationships with key police personnel, set up a meeting to do so.

Suspicious Activity

Keep your eyes and ears open for: 

    • Unusual behavior
    • Suspicious packages and strange devices
    • Requests for information, particularly about your security system or procedures
    • Attempts to by-pass or test your security
    • Someone taking photographs or video of your institution
    • Someone sitting in a vehicle for an extended period of time; and/or
    • uncooperative or dismissive behavior

If someone’s behavior strikes you as suspicious, make note of:

    • Details about their behavior
    • Gender, age, and physical description
    • What they are wearing
    • A description of any vehicle by make, color, and license plate
    • The date, time, and location of the occurrence

Trust your instincts. If something strikes you suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately.

Suspicious Packages

All letters and packages should be hand-sorted and screened for the following:

    • Powder
    • Excessive postage
    • Misspelled words
    • Addressed to title only (e.g., President or Rabbi)
    • Rigid or bulky exterior
    • Badly-typed or written
    • Strange odor
    • Lopsided
    • Oily stains on wrapper
    • Wrong title with name
    • Protruding wires

Note: In addition to these indicators, your observations and intuition are two vital elements in identifying suspicious packages.

If you are suspicious of a package:

    • Stop. Don’t open, handle, shake, taste or smell.
    • Isolate the area immediately; keep others away.
    • Call 911.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water.

You may refer to ADL’s security manual Protecting Your Institution and find additional information on creating a security plan, access control, crisis management, and more, at ADL’s security website: