If you suspect that there is a case in your community consult your local health authorities.
- NYS Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline (888) 364-3065
- NYC COVID-19 information: call 311
- Governor Cuomo’s news feed
- New York State Novel Coronavirus page (includes updates on cases)
- Mayor deBlasio’s news feed
- New York City Coronavirus page
- JFNA’s COVID-19 resources for Federations and other organizations
- UJA-Federation’s COVID-19 Resources for you
- The Jewish Education Project’s resources for schools and families here.
Scroll below the updates for more information and resources.
Update: April 2, 2020
- FEMA Daily Briefing Points: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Whole-of-America Response
- NYPD is carrying out moment-by-moment analyses of Hate Crimes: At no time is hate and discrimination of any kind ever tolerated in New York City, but amid its ongoing Coronavirus response, the NYPD is reinforcing the importance of reporting all hate crimes and bias incidents. Since the outbreak, the Hate Crime Task Force has investigated 11 cases where all the victims were Asian and targeted due to discrimination based on the Coronavirus pandemic. To date, investigators have apprehended the wanted subjects in seven of these cases.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Brief Apr 2, 2020
- An message from Nassau County Executive Laura Curran to faith leaders ahead of the upcoming Easter and Passover holidays. See also Suffolkcountyny.gov/covid19.
Update: April 1, 2020
- Census Day. Today is officially Census Day. Every household should have received a form in the mail, but you can also fill it out at the secure online site or by phone. Fill out the paper form that you received in the mail, call in to 1-800-923-8282 or use your code to fill it out online at my2020census.gov. Many Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods are “hard-to-count”. JCRC-NY is joining with local partners to advertise in media outlets that target these neighborhoods. Here’s a sample of our ad.
- NYC Emergency Management COVID-19 Daily Brief April 1, 2020
- Nonprofit New York Updates
- NYPD Cybersecurity Brief, including Tips to Mitigate Against Phishing and Spear-Phishing Attacks, Basic Safeguards Against Ransomware, andCOVID-19 and Telephonic Cybersecurity: Vulnerabilities for Conference Calls.
- Jewish Board webinars. The Jewish Board is offering two webinars in the next two days: Dealing with disruption: Strategies for thriving in the new normal and Helping Kids Cope with COVID-19. Click here for the details and registration.
- Nonprofit New York’s COVID-19 Updates
- Tech Resources for Nonprofits Impacted by COVID-19. TechSoup is committed to equipping nonprofits with the technology resources (including discounts on Zoom, etc.) needed to meet their mission, serve their community, and support their staff. Click here to learn more.
- Stimulus scams. Congress has recently passed a large COVID-19 relief and stimulus package. As with other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, fraudsters are exploiting the relief and stimulus to victimize the public. The U.S. Secret Service is observing a rise in stimulus relief fraud over the past several days and expect the fraud attempts to continue throughout the pandemic. See their bulletin here.
Update: March 31, 2020
- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new hospital network Central Coordinating Team that will help facilitate a more coordinated and strategic approach among the state’s healthcare system in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The coordinating team will help implement the statewide public-private hospital plan, which the Governor announced yesterday, to share information, supplies, staff and patients among hospitals across the State. The team will be responsible for organizing upstate to downstate staffing; assisting Elmhurst Hospital and other stressed hospitals; setting patient thresholds for hospitals; organizing patient transfers to other hospitals and the USNS Comfort; coordinating State-City stockpiles and individual hospital stockpiles; and facilitating staffing recruitment.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update
- Today, 5,657 uniformed members of the NYPD were on sick report which accounts for 15.6% of the Department’s uniformed workforce. Currently, 1,048 uniformed members and 145 civilian members tested positive for the Coronavirus.
- NYC Dept. of Finance sells tax liens for unpaid property taxes, water bills, other charges. Because so many families need relief, NYC is postponing the sale to August (from May).
- Check our Nassau County’s Coronavirus resources. Most Nassau County offices are closed. You can find how to reach them here. Get the Suffolk County updates by clicking here.
- ADL: How to prevent Zoombombing. As large numbers of people turn to video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms to stay connected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, reports of VTC hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”) are emerging nationwide. The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.
Update: March 27, 2020
UJA-Federation of New York briefing on the CARES Act
Featuring experts from Jewish Federation of North America
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Please join UJA-Federation for a virtual briefing with federal nonprofit policy experts Stephan Kline, Interim Executive Director, Jewish Federation of North America’s DC office and Steven Woolf, Senior Tax Policy Counsel, Jewish Federation of North America.
This briefing will include an in-depth analysis of the federal legislation and there will be time to answer your questions about how agencies can apply for the various loans and other provisions available to the nonprofit community. Link to Register (Zoom information will be shared after registration) For more information, contact Margo Paz at PazM@ujafedny.org html bIf you are unable to participate, the program will be recorded.
- The bill does not set aside funding for nonprofits, however, our communal institutions will be able to access $350 billion in new business continuity loans. These loans will be available for Jewish nonprofits, including: JCCs, synagogues, schools and others. The CARES Act also includes an above-the-line charitable tax deduction, resources to feed and house families and older adults, flexibility and new support for health care providers, and more. Here is JFNA’s one page summary of the provisions and you can find details here.
- President issued a disaster declaration for New York (FEMA-4480-DR-NY) and certain nonprofits are eligible for FEMA public assistance which is administered through NYS DHSES (Private Non-Profit Eligibility Guidelines and RPA packet). This is a complicated process which is not intended to make up for loss of income. It will reimburse approved applicants for reasonable and necessary expenses for work directly related to the COVID-19 event. Some expenses such as the overtime costs necessary for disinfecting public spaces, hiring daycare workers to care for the children of medical workers and first responders (at the request of the city or state), emergency food services (at the request of the city or state), or the purchase of computers for students for distance learning may be eligible. Read the guidelines and submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: March 26, 2020
- We are awaiting House passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Watch this space for more information on how nonprofits can access some of the benefits.
- We can’t overstate the threat of cybercriminals taking advantage of the COVID threat (the latest allegedly from the Director-General of WHO urging people to click to a documents with treatments for COVID/click to schedule free testing). Responsibly click to NJCCIC’s security posts “Tips for Teleworkers, Remote Access Security” that provide telework program fundamentals, best practices for using remote access, and guidance on establishing device and home network security.
- New York State’s income tax filing deadline is delayed until July 15, 2020. Because New York State requires electronic filing, the date for filing state personal income taxes automatically travels with the federal filing date, which is now July 15. Further guidelines will be released soon.
- Arranging for mail pickup. What if your business is not essential, but a person must pick up the mail or perform a similar routine function each day? According to the NY State Essential Businesses FAQ‘s, ” A single person attending a non-essential closed business temporarily to perform a specific task is permitted so long as they will not be in contact with other people.”
- NYC EM Private Sector COVID Update
- Click to UJA-Federation’s Coronavirus Resources website for advice, learning opportunities and more.
- And now for something completely different: Patrick Stewart is reading Shakespearean sonnets online. Make it so.
Update: March 25, 2020
- As of 6:30PM, the American people still are waiting for a Congressional vote on the stimulus package. Some predict that the Senate will act tonight.
- UJA’s $23M Aims to Assist Struggling Agencies
- In NY, all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are temporarily banned. New York State on PAUSE: 100% of the workforce must stay home, excluding essential services. Do your part and keep your distance. Stay at least 6 feet from others. Learn more at nyc.gov/coronavirus or call 311.
- Please urge your representatives in the New York State Senate and Assembly to pass Governor Cuomo’s ‘No Hate in Our State’ package as-is to combat anti-Semitism and protect vulnerable communities from the scourge of hate and bigotry affecting our nation. To contact:
- In a letter, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and our own Rep. Max Rose, Chairman of its Subcommittee on Intelligence & Counterterrorism asked DHS, “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend American life in new and unpredictable ways, we seek an understanding of how DHS is preparing for and mitigating potential homeland security threats from bad actors, such as violent extremists in the United States and abroad, who may seek to exploit vulnerabilities stemming from this metastasizing crisis.” See the full letter here calling attention to many of the developments mentioned on this page.
- Washington Post. Terrorism laws may apply if people intentionally spread coronavirus, Justice Dept. says
Update: March 24, 2020
- New York’s case count is doubling every three days. In his daily briefing Governor Cuomo commented, “I’m not asking the federal government to help New York just to help New York — I’m asking for everyone. New York is the first — if we learn how to blunt the impact here and bend the curve here, we can help other states who are next. Let’s learn how to act as one nation.”
- Dr. Deborah Birx, the national coronavirus response coordinator, recommended, “Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread to others no matter where they have gone, whether it’s Florida, North Carolina or out to far reaches of Long Island. We’re starting to see new cases across Long Island that suggest people have left the city.”
- Former Israeli leader and Prisoner-of-Conscience Natan Sharansky offered tips to survive quarantine based on his experience in the Gulag. Tip 2: “In prison, I didn’t know when I will be released or if I will be released at all. Don’t build your future plans based on the hope that in the next few days, or the next few weeks, it all will be finished. It does not depend on you. [emphasis added] So try to build plans which fully depend on you.”
- Alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations are suspended tomorrow, March 25 through Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Parking meters remain in effect.
- Two days ago we called your attention to an FBI alert warning of extremist groups that are encouraging their members (online) to spread the novel coronavirus to police and Jewish people in New York. While the online presence is real, an Israeli media outlet published a report that there were such people “roaming the streets.” Neither JCRC-NY nor the NYPD has heard of any such incidents. Please do what you can to contain any such rumors.
- NYC Emergency Management’s Situational Awareness call will be tomorrow, March 25th from 1-2pm. A representative from NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will provide updates regarding COVID-19 as well as review guidance for businesses. The dial-in number is: (800) 832-0736 and the room number (access code) for all users is: 52451.
- More guidance from our friends at the Israel Trauma Coalition who keep producing quality guidance: Advice for parents on dealing with corona virus abroad, Advice for community Rabbis, Covid-19 Psychosocial advice to patients, Remote therapeutic intervention, Psychosocial support for teams working with elderly abroad, Psychosocial support for medical teams abroad
Update: March 23, 2020
- New York State Essential Businesses (PAUSE) Order. Note that Houses of worship are not ordered closed, however it is strongly recommended no congregate services be held and social distance maintained. See the NYC FAQ below.
- New York City
- Coronavirus FAQ for Faith Leaders (PDF, March 22)
- Nonprofit Business Continuity Guidance (PDF, March 15)
- Guidance for COVID-19 Streamlining Practices (PDF, March 20)
- Letter to Human Service Provider Partners (PDF, March 18)
- Nonprofit Contract, Budget and Finance Guidance (PDF, March 14)
- Visit the Small Business Services website for loan and grant information
Bigoted rhetoric. The Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, has heard of bigoted rhetoric surrounding COVID-19. As the public health situation continues to develop, the ensuing fear and anxiety has led to the spread of false information and racist behavior. Report such behavior through 311 and contact CommunityEngagement@hq.dhs.gov.
Update: March 22, 2020
- Hate. According to multiple open source media, the FBI sent an alert warning of extremist groups that are encouraging their members to spread the novel coronavirus to police and Jewish people. Reportedly, members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, through bodily fluids and personal interactions at places where Jewish people may be congregated, to include markets, political offices, businesses and places of worship. The alert also reportedly said some white supremacists and neo-Nazis were also urging members who contract the virus to spread the disease to cops by using spray bottles.
- Patrols. Yesterday the New York City Police Department began a new series of patrols in connection with monitoring locations and educating members of the public on safe social distancing. Officers are stopping by public areas and reminding individuals gathered to be aware of their distance from each other. In addition, we have now added larger supermarkets to our ongoing surveys of restaurants and bars. Starting today, officers will be visiting nail and hair salons as well as other personal care locations to insure their compliance with current mandates. Once again, our police officers, City businesses and all New Yorkers did a great job responding to a challenge.
“We are proud of our officers. They are a frontline in public safety, awareness & education. They’ve always been there for us and they are there for us now during this challenging time,” said Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo.
- Scams. Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. They are using fake CDC emails and phishing emails to part victims from their money. See more information from the FBI here. More tips on cybersecurity from the State of New Jersey here.
- From UJA-Federation.
- Important information from BDO about tax-free qualified disaster payments to employees in connection with COVID-19.
- A new $75 Million NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund has been established to provide grants and loans to New York City-based social services and cultural organizations to support them in the COVID-19 Pandemic. For more information, please see this press release .
- Two Requests for Proposals are live – one for human services and one for arts and culture. Please visit the NYC COVID-10 Response and Impact Fund site hosted by the New York Community Trust to review eligibility requirements and to apply.
- No-interest loans are also available to human services and arts and culture nonprofit based in New York City through the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund.
- Please support @SenatorLankford’s amendment to dramatically expand the universal charitable deduction in the latest relief package being debated now. Sign on to the National Council of Nonprofits letter here.
- You can help (from a Ramaz alum). “I am a resident doctor on the Upper Westside at Mount Sinai West/St. Lukes and as you can imagine, things have been really intense at the hospital, really intensifying every day. My hospital and all the hospitals are running very low on protective equipment including masks, gloves, gowns, goggles, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes. This is putting the healthcare providers and other patients at risk of getting sick! I was wondering if Ramaz/KJ has any protective equipment to donate and if you could also spread the word to the amazing Ramaz/KJ community to donate any extra equipment they have! They can reach out to me to donate here or they can donate to their local hospital! Ramaz is stepping up and we thank all of the heroes in the medical community who are working so hard to get us through this.
Update: March 20, 2020
- New York State on Pause. Governor Cuomo directed that 100% of workforce must stay home, excluding essential services. Public transportation will keep running to get nurses, doctors, law enforcement officers, and other essential personnel where they need to go. Everyone else: Limit the use of public transportation to only when absolutely necessary. What is an essential worker? Click here.
- Teleworking. Pay attention to the possible dangers of teleworking. See the NIST guidance here.
- Joint statement from Orthodox leaders and organizations declaring COVID-19 a mortal threat.
- ADL: Corona Crisis Elevates Anti-Semitic Tropes
- From the Israel Trauma Coalition. Advice for Parents/Caregivers. English. Russian. Psychosocial support for teams working with elderly. English. Russian.
- FBI Sees Rise in Fraud Schemes Related to the (COVID-19) Pandemic
Update: March 19, 2020
- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order mandating businesses that rely on in-office personnel to decrease their in-office workforce by 75 percent. This follows the Governor’s directive yesterday that all businesses implement work-from-home policies. Click here to see exemptions and other NY steps.
- The U.S. State Department upgraded its travel warning, advising Americans who do not return “should be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”
- Prime Minister Netanyahu tightened the isolation rules in Israel “to save many lives”. For the next seven days, most people leaving their homes will be subject to fines. See more from Israel here.
- Today, DHS issued “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19” advising such workers, “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.” The list identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing management functions, among others. The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works.
- Cybersecurity experts note that many bad actors are taking advantage of the crisis. Make sure that your protections are up-t0-date and you are not falling for the multitude of scams circulating. Get more tips from the DHS Cybersecurity mavens here.
Update: March 18, 2020
- The surge of cases in Orthodox communities and a call from the White House brought clear guidance from their recognized leadership including the Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corp, Moetzet Gedolai Hatorah, the Bet Din Tzedek of Crown Heights and more.
- Click here for the NYS confirmed cases page.
- The Governor and Legislature have an agreement on a bill guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus.
- Governor Cuomo signed an executive order directing all schools in New York to close by Wednesday, March 18 for two weeks ending April 1.
- Casinos, gyms, theaters are closed until further notice.
- Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure.
- Strongly advise only services and businesses that are essential stay open after 8:00PM
- Gas stations
- Medical facilities
- All local governments must reduce their workforce by at least 50%. Non-essential state workers are working from home.
- New York State is waiving all park fees in state, local and county parks.
- Testing is free for all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider.
Update: March 17, 2020
- Updated guidance and flyer
- Disinfecting your home if someone is sick (CDC March 17)
- Criteria for Return to Work for Healthcare Personnel with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 (CDC March 16)
- Novel Coronavirus Outbreak Factsheet (PDF, March 15)
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- Stop the Spread of Coronavirus Flyer (PDF, March 17)
- Updated NYC Guidance for Congregate Settings
- Situation Report
- Governor Cuomo confirms 432 additional Coronavirus cases in New York State, bringing the statewide total to 1,374 cases in 18 counties. He said, “This is an extraordinary time in this nation’s history, and it will go down in the history books as one of those moments of true crisis and confusion. So my message to New Yorkers is this: Be a little bit more sensitive, understand the stress, understand the fear, be a little bit more loving, a little bit more compassionate, a little bit more comforting, a little bit more cooperative. We are going to get through it and we are going to get through it together.” He also announced agreements with the Legislature on job guarantees and paid sick leave, which will lessen the impact on people should there be mandatory or precautionary quarantines or isolation. There will be additional drive-through testing sites. See more here. He tweeted, “We can only maintain public health by STAYING APART. The decision each of makes now will impact us all tomorrow. STAY HOME.”
- NYC Emergency Management‘s message was: “Do your part NYC, stay home! Visit the ER only if you are severely ill, otherwise you jeopardize the lives of others who are ill.”
- Mayor Bill de Blasio says he is “absolutely considering” a shelter in place order for New York City residents just like the one instituted in California’s Bay Area on Monday. A “shelter in place” order would mandate that all city residents stay in their homes but would fall short of the complete lockdown that is in place in Italy, where people need permission to leave their homes. “Even though a decision has not been made by the city or by the state, I think that all New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order,” de Blasio said.
- “The emergency policies that have been issued are of statewide impact, and the Governor is making every effort to coordinate these policies with our surrounding states,” said Melissa Derosa, Secretary to the Governor, in a statement. “Any blanket quarantine or shelter in place policy would require State action and as the Governor has said, there is no consideration of that for any locality at this time.”
- Alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations are suspended starting tomorrow, March 18 through Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Parking meters remain in effect.
- There are reports of hundreds of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Boro Park, Crown Heights, Williamsburg and Five Towns. Kudos to Achiezer, a trusted community organization that plays several important roles in the Far Rockaway/Five Towns/North Woodmere communities. They have mobilized their networks to provide reliable information bringing together medical and halachic experts (here are their quarantine guidelines), drive-through testing,support services, entertainment for the kids and more.
- Articles selected by JFNA
- JTA – Jewish coronavirus updates: Synagogues close around the world, Israel announces tighter restrictions
- JNS – Across America, Jewish leaders, schools and institutions prepare for major shift in life due to coronavirus
- Jerusalem Post– Israelis not allowed to leave their homes unless ‘absolutely necessary’
- New York Jewish Week – Virus anxiety? New spiritual resources aim to help you cope
- Times of Israel – As corona cuts off borders, Oslo baby’s delayed circumcision is tip of iceberg
- JTA – Former leader of Milan Jewish community dies of coronavirus
- JTA (op-ed) – What American Jews can learn from my Italian Jewish community’s response to the coronavirus
Update: March 16, 2020
— Max Brooks (@maxbrooksauthor) March 16, 2020
The consensus regarding the need for social distancing is emerging at all levels of government. Today, the CDC issued updated guidance regarding events and gathering. If there is minimal or moderate spread in your community:
- Cancel events for groups of 250 people or more.
- Alert! Starting 3/15 and for 8 weeks, CDC recommends all events of 50+ people be cancelled or held virtually. See full recommendation.
- For organizations that serve people who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness, cancel events for groups of 10 people or more.
If there is substantial spread in your community, cancel events of any size.
New York State, New York City, Long Island and Westchester are already making recommendations along those lines, including many points of gathering: restaurants and bars must move to take out and delivery services and movie theaters, gyms, and casinos will be closed. NY State courts will be closing for non-essential functions.
Here are some useful links from our friends at NYCVOAD:
- Report cases of COVID-19 at your agency to DOHMH’s NYC Provider Access Line at 866-692-3641.
- According to HSC, organizations can order cleaning supplies and medical supplies in bulk from the NYS Preferred Source Program’s website. Soaps and sanitizers can be found here. General cleaning supplies can be found here.
- The Lawyer’s Alliance has guidance for nonprofits to protect themselves, including HR practices. This was last updated on 3/10.
- Linked In has online trainings for people working remotely, like time management.
- Some tech companies are offering free access to tech services:
- Cisco: expanded access of their free Webex platform, plus free 90-day licenses are available to businesses that are not Webex customers.
- Google: free access to advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally until July 1, 2020.
- LogMeIn: free “emergency remote work kits” available for three months, including GoToMeeting, presentation platform GoToMeeting, and remote desktop access provider LogMeIn.
- Microsoft: a free six-month license to individuals and IT professionals to access the Teams Office 365 software in order to help facilitate videoconferencing and remote work capabilities.
- Waivers and Services available to the public
- Evictions – NYC Courts announced a moratorium on evictions in NYC and suspended the issuance of new eviction warrants when a tenant fails to appear in court.
- Water Service – DEP has suspended water service shut-offs and shutdowns for:
- Failure to comply with Cross Connection
- Orders to Cease and desist due to non-compliance
- Note: Routine shutdowns due to emergencies, construction and repair will continue as normal.
Update: March 12, 2020
- Rumor control.
THERE IS A LOT OF MISINFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
ONE TWEET IN PARTICULAR IS FALSE. CONTRARY TO WHAT IT SAYS THERE ARE NO PLANS BY THE NYPD TO SHUT DOWN ROADWAYS OR SUBWAYS.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) March 12, 2020
- Social connecting.
- Thanks to City and State New York “First Read Tonight”:
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York will ban events of more than 500 people and impose restrictions on venues – including shutting down Broadway beginning tonight – as part of the state’s effort to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, Gannett Albany reports.
- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency in the city, saying large venues like Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden will likely be closed for months to try to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak, CNBC reports.
- New York City schools have their first confirmed case of the new coronavirus after a student tested positive, prompting officials to close two Bronx schools for 24 hours, the Daily News reports.
- Several of New York’s largest and most prestigious cultural institutions – including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall – announced they would temporarily shut down in an effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, The New York Times reports.
- Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said that subway service in the city could be scaled back as the new coronavirus outbreak leads to falling ridership, adding that if federal or state health officials order the MTA to alter service, it will do so, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- Thanks to “FedWorld”
- The Forward – Preparing for the worst-case scenario: Jewish aid groups scramble amid the coronavirus outbreak
- Business Insider – How American synagogues are dealing with coronavirus panic ahead of major Jewish holidays
- JTA – Preparing for the ‘worst-case scenario’: Jewish aid groups scramble amid the coronavirus outbreak
- Washington Post – Israel announces that anyone coming from abroad must be self-quarantined for 14 days
- NYN Media – The new coronavirus is resulting in canceled fundraisers in New York
- New York Jewish Week – ‘Desperate time’ as Passover nears
- New York Jewish Week – New Jersey rabbis shut down religious services
- The New York Times – Coronavirus in New York: How to help
- Jerusalem Post – Israel shutters schools, universities as coronavirus patients top 100
How Coronavirus Hijacks Your Cells https://t.co/C3ukqSoAo4
Update: March 11, 2020
- “We have got to assume it is going to get worse and worse and worse.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued a stark warning to lawmakers that the coronavirus would continue spreading rapidly in the U.S. His comments came within hours of the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a pandemic, confirming what many epidemiologists have been saying for weeks.
- Today, Governor Cuomo announced a new cooperative effort with New York business leaders to voluntarily implement different work shifts and telecommuting in an effort to reduce density. Most SUNY and CUNY classes will be moved online, joining Columbia, NYU and many other higher education institutions.
- Our best advice is that schools in our community that are not already closed by health authorities should plan for the eventuality that the pandemic could get worse. Those organizations that are able to use staggered hours and telecommuting should consider how they could implement their plans. Many organizations are canceling meetings or moving them to conference calls or Zoom.
- In New York City, the Hebrew Free Loan Society announced that is offering a Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loan, of $2,000-$5,000 interest-free, for individuals with financial challenges caused by the outbreak. “For many working people in New York City and the surrounding area, several weeks without pay can quickly lead to a financial crisis,” the agency stated. For information about the loans: http://bit.ly/
HFLScovid19email. See other Jewish Week COVID-19 Updates here, Forward here.
Update: March 10, 2020
- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today accepted the recommendation of State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker for new emergency measures to contain the novel coronavirus cluster in New Rochelle. The area currently has 108 confirmed cases and is considered a “cluster.” The protocols include closing schools, houses of worship and other large gathering facilities within a one-mile radius in New Rochelle for a two-week period, from Thursday, March 12th to Wednesday, March 25th. The Governor has deployed National Guard troops to a Health Department command post in New Rochelle to assist with the outbreak. The troops are mobilizing to deliver food to homes and help with cleaning public spaces in the containment area. The Governor confirmed 31 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 173 confirmed cases in New York State (New York City: 36 (17 new), Nassau: 19 (2 new), Rockland: 6 (2 new)). Here is the transcript.
- Mayor Bill deBlasio spoke about the high risk COVID-19 poses to seniors and noted that a coordinated task force of representatives from DOHMH, DFTA, NYCHA, HPD, HDC, NYCEM, and PEU are having daily meetings regarding the City’s elderly population. Read his transcript here.
Update: March 9, 2020
- Governor Cuomo announced that 142 people in NY State tested positive for Coronovirus.
- Today, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu announced, “”After a day of complex discussions, we have made a decision: Whoever arrives in Israel from abroad will enter quarantine for 14 days. This is a difficult decision but it is essential to maintaining public health, which takes precedence over everything. This decision will be in effect for two weeks. At the same time, we will make decisions to safeguard the Israeli economy.” See Israel’s Ministry of Health Coronavirus webpage here.
- The New York Jewish Week has a Coronavirus Update covering developments in the story, including closings.
- Recommendations from Mayor deBlasio:
- Currently (March 8) 19 New York City residents are under mandatory quarantine and 2,176 are under voluntary home isolation. Those under mandatory quarantine receive daily calls and twice weekly unannounced visits by DOHMH. Upon identification, all individuals under voluntary home isolation will receive calls and texts with information and reminders to call a doctor or DOHMH if they feel sick or develop symptoms, such as fever and cough or shortness of breath.
- To reduce overcrowding, the New York City is advising private-sector employers and employees to consider telecommuting where possible and to consider staggered start times for workers. Those who take the subways at rush hour should consider commuting to work via alternative modes of transportation, like biking or walking, if possible.
- New York City is advising those with chronic lung disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or a weakened immune system to avoid unnecessary events and gatherings. If you have family or friends who have one of these conditions, do not visit them if you feel sick. Those with a history of smoking and vaping are more likely to experience serious illness related to COVID-19.
- New York City agencies will be hosting another Community & Faith Leaders COVID-19 call which is scheduled for Thursday, March 12 at 2:00 PM. As a reminder this call is hosted by the NYC Department of Health and NYC Emergency Management Community Outreach Bureau. All guests will be muted and should email email@example.com with questions. The call will start with a COVID-19 Updates followed by Q+A. The dial in number is (800) 832-0736. The room number (access code) for all the users is 5245195.
- As our institutions adapt their Purim activities, we urge them to consider business continuity plans. Here are two resources from Nonprofit New York:
- The Israel Trauma Coalition distributed Advice for parents/caregivers to help Israeli families cope with the stresses arising from the spread of COVID-19 and to strengthen their resilience. The advice is transferable to our communities. English | Russian
- Mazel tov! (JTA) Yeshiva University’s men’s basketball team continued its record-breaking season with a dominant second-round win in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Maccabees notched a 102-83 victory Saturday night over Penn State Harrisburg for Y.U.’s 29th straight win. The team is 29-1 this season. The game took place in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University’s 1,100-seat Goldfarb Gym. Due to concerns about coronavirus cases in Maryland, spectators were not permitted to attend the game.
Update: March 8, 2020
- Governor Cuomo declared a State of Emergency to help New York more quickly and effectively contain the spread of the virus. There are 16 additional confirmed cases of #Coronavirus in NYS, bringing total to 105. Westchester: 82 NYC: 12 Nassau: 5 Rockland: 2 Saratoga: 2 Suffolk: 1 Ulster: 1
- On Friday, Governor Cuomo said he doesn’t believe it is necessary at this point for most New Yorkers to avoid sporting events, concerts and other crowded venues. But, he said, “my message would be if you are a senior citizen or immunocompromised I would think seriously about attending a large gathering now. I said that to my mother.” In general, seniors should also consider whether they should fly or board cruises.
- Travel. Around the world, countries are taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Before you travel, be sure to check the CDC travel website for late-breaking information.
- Students and staff in BOTH SAR Academy and SAR High School are now under precautionary quarantine through Monday, March 16 based on the last possible exposure of a positive case within our buildings. They are ordered not to leave their homes. SAR will provide families with the reading of the Megillah via Zoom.
- Cybersecurity. The Department of Homeland Security CISA recommends the as organizations explore various alternate workplace options in response to COVID-19, CISA recommends examining security of information technology systems by taking the following steps:
- Secure systems that enable remote access.
- Ensure Virtual Private Network and other remote access systems are fully patched.
- Enhance system monitoring to receive early detection and alerts on abnormal activity.
- Implement multi-factor authentication.
- Ensure all remote machines have properly configured firewalls, as well as anti-malware and intrusion prevention software installed.
- Test remote access solutions capacity or increase capacity.
- Increase awareness of information technology support mechanisms for employees who work remotely.
- Update incident response plans to consider workforce changes in a distributed environment.
- Secure systems that enable remote access.
- Agudath Israel’s program – Keeping Healthy, Keeping Calm – offered Halachic and general guidance for what we can and should be doing in the wake of recent developments in the Jewish community with regard to Coronavirus. The presenters included: Rabbi Zev Cohen,
Rabbi Aaron E. Glatt, MD (Chair of the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau, Chief of Infectious Diseases & Epidemiologist and Assistant Rabbi at Young Israel of Woodmere and Anshei Chesed) and Dr. Norman Blumenthal (Zachter Family Chair in Trauma and Crisis Counseling and Director of OHEL Miriam Center for Trauma, Bereavement and Crisis Response). Access the Recording via this link.
- Rabbi at synagogue at center of NY outbreak diagnosed with coronavirus | Rabbi Reuven Fink, who also teaches at Yeshiva University, has been in quarantine after he was in contact with congregant who tested positive, institution says in tweet.
|His comments came within hours of the World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a pandemic, confirming what many epidemiologists have been saying for weeks.|
Update: March 5, 2020.
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held a joint private sector engagement teleconference with the Department of Health and Hunan Services (HHS) earlier today. COVID-19 is an expanding global outbreak – with community spread occurring internationally and in the United States. An HHS official reported 60 cases in 12 states at the time of the call. The virus’ spread and actions taken by business to mitigate transmission have the effect of exacerbating cyber security risk due to:
- Cyber criminals exploiting fear and desire for information to perpetrate phishing campaigns; and
- Expanded use of remote connections to support broader telecommuting.
- During a briefing on the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today confirmed 11 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 22 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 22 individuals who tested positive for the virus, one resides in Nassau County, three reside in New York City and 18 reside in Westchester County. In response to the growing number of cases, the Governor activated the statewide Emergency Operation Center in Albany, as well as two Emergency Operations Center outposts in Westchester County: one in Hawthorne and one in New Rochelle.
- Mayor Bill de Blasio today updated New Yorkers on the City’s response efforts regarding COVID-19. As community transmission increases, the Mayor is reminding New Yorkers to take basic precautions while going about their lives: wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, stay home if you are sick and call your doctor if you experience the following symptoms: fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. Additionally, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene is asking New Yorkers who return from the following countries to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution: China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan.
- Get some practical advice for staff who perform general cleaning and disinfection from DOHMH’s General Disinfection Guidance for Businesses and Non-Healthcare Settings. Also check out their Schools and Families Guidance for Novel Coronavirus.
- As the coronavirus continues to spread, JFNA has compiled resources and other materials to help Federation communities stay informed and make important decisions related to missions, events and other programs.
- Download and distribute the coronovirus flyer prepared by the CDC- What to do if you are sick with the coronavirus disease.
- See a featured post from the Times of Israel blog on Rabbinic leadership in the age of coronavirus with an overview of some rabbinic opinions.
Update: March 4, 2020.
UPDATE: We have learned of 5 new confirmed cases of #COVID19, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 11.
The cases are all in a single family from New Rochelle: A 46yo woman, her 45yo husband, and 3 of their children.
The entire family is under self-quarantine.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 4, 2020
City disease detectives are on campus to identify close contacts of the student and connect those individuals to testing immediately. As of this morning, two contacts have transferred to Bellevue hospital for testing.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 4, 2020
- Today’s NYC COVID-19 report.
- New resources: The Jewish Education Project has a resources page, including and excellent webinar and free access to a distant learning app for schools.
- From SAR/ Young Israel of New Rochelle: The Westchester County Health Commissioner, Dr. Sherlita Amler, wrote the following in a letter to the Young Israel of New Rochelle community: “A quarantine means that both adults and children should remain at home. This means they should not go to work, attend school, go shopping or attend religious services or gatherings anywhere, and should have no guests, visitors or staff in their homes during this period.” According to NYSDOH, if people in self-quarantine begin exhibiting flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, etc), they should contact their physician immediately and call one of hotlines…” (See above) As per Governor Cuomo and NYSDOH, SAR High School will remain closed through Purim day and will re-open on Wednesday, March 11. SAR Academy will remain closed through Friday, March 6 and will re-open on Monday, March 9. In addition, under the direction of Governor Cuomo and NYSDOH, all High School students and faculty are asked to self-quarantine through Friday, March 6 as a precaution so that the Department of Health can better understand how quickly this infection is spreading through the community.
- From Yeshiva University: We have unfortunately received news this morning that our student has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as well as to all those affected. We are taking every precaution by canceling all classes on Wilf Campus in Washington Heights for Wednesday March 4, 2020. This includes all in-person graduate courses on that campus as well as at the boys’ high school.
- Israel’s Ministry of Health confirmed an additional three cases, leading hundreds of Israelis to be placed in isolation.
- Religious organizations: Many synagogues have asked us for guidance about upcoming events. We have been in touch with all of the major streams of Judaism and there is absolute consensus that synagogues should comply with the orders of their local health officials. That being said, see materials from the URJ here and the USCJ here. The RCA, OU and Yeshiva University will hold a conference call for rabbis on the subject tomorrow and the Agudath Israel is working on recommendations.
Update: March 3, 2020.
- Jewish patient zero. A New Rochelle resident is the second New Yorker to test positive for COVID-19. He was transferred from a hospital in Bronxville to a facility in New York City. At the direction of New York State, Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler directed that [Temple] Young Israel in New Rochelle halt all services immediately and for the foreseeable future due to potential COVID-19 exposure connected to the man who tested positive today.
Additionally, congregants of the Temple who attended services on February 22, and a funeral and a bat mitzvah at the temple on February 23 must self-quarantine until at the very earliest March 8. Those who do not self-quarantine will be mandated to by the County Department of Health to do so.
- SAR Academy, Westchester Day School and the Westchester Torah Academy all suspended classes for the day. One of the children of the New Rochelle man is a student at SAR High School. All of the schools are working with the appropriate health officials.
- Another son is an undergraduate student at Yeshiva University. Yeshiva University reports that he has not been on campus since February 27th and is in quarantine with the other members of his family. Health officials are testing all family members for COVID-19. In addition, employees of the patient’s law firm are also quarantined, including a Cardozo student. The University is disinfecting all relevant common areas.
- Governor Cuomo announced that he will amend the Paid Sick Leave Budget Proposal to specifically protect people who stay home from work because they are being isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19. The state will institute a new cleaning protocol at schools and in the public transportation system to help stop any potential spread of the virus.
Update: March 1, 2020. The spectre of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hangs over individuals and organizations. The Jewish Insider reports on the scene at the AIPAC conference: “As attendees buzz about the latest developments with the coronavirus, many are opting to replace handshakes, hugs and fist bumps with the elbow bump. For its part, AIPAC is distributing thousands of travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer…” It is a respiratory illness spread from person to person, first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.How can I help protect myself? The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Get your flu shot — it’s not too late.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
- shortness of breath
If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should
- Contact your health care provider for guidance.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Community and organizational measuresOn March 1, 2020 officials announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New York City. Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot:“While we hoped this moment wouldn’t come, it was something we prepared for. Our disease detectives have already identified close contacts of the patient, who may have been exposed, and will take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Despite this development, New Yorkers remain at low risk for contracting COVID-19. As we confront this emerging outbreak, we need to separate facts from fear, and guard against stigma and panic.”
If COVID-19 cases reach a certain level, state and local public health authorities may decide to implement:
- Temporary closures or dismissals of childcare facilities and schools;
- Other social distancing measures that increase the physical space between people, including:
- Workplace social distancing measures, such as replacing in-person meetings with teleworking; and
- Modifying, postponing, or cancelling mass gatherings.
Planning aheadThere is no need to panic, there is a need to plan. So what are the implications of temporary closures and/or social distancing? Consider what such steps would mean to your organizations.
- Promote the behaviors that help people protect themselves.
- Authorities might suggest that we avoid mass transit. Can your employees work remotely?
- Define your “mission critical” functions, i.e., what needs to get done — no matter what. That will vary from organization to organization, but think about payroll and payables. If you supply healthcare aids to the frail elderly or meals-0n-wheels you will need a more robust plan.
- Do you have mass gatherings on your calendar (possibly including religious services)? Do you have a backup plan?
- What about domestic or international travel? Are those trips necessary? Be sure to monitor U.S. State Department Travel Advisories at Travel.State.Gov.
- Have you educated your employees and constituencies about how to protect themselves and others (see above)?
- Have you reviewed and implemented the CDC Guidance for schools and employers? Have you notified your constituencies about your interim policies?
- CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 webpage
- CDC Communication Resources (video, fact sheets and posters) on Coronavirus 2019
- NYS Health Coronavirus webpage
- NYC Health Coronavirus webpage
- Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), February 2020
- CDC in Action: Preparing Communities for Potential Spread of COVID-19
As reported in the JTA Daily Briefing, 19 Jewish organizations (mostly JCC’s) received an email threat yesterday (Sunday) morning. The threat alleged that the writer was concerned about an immigration issue and threatened to remotely detonate bombs if a certain demand was not met. The Community Security Initiative (a joint program of UJA-Federation and JCRC-NY) immediately communicated with our local and federal partners. The consensus was that the threat was not credible.
Do you have a threat procedure? Do you regularly review your procedures and/or drill? Should we be worried?
At this time the experts conclude that incidents referencing threats against schools, Jewish facilities and businesses are not likely t0 represent a credible terrorist threat for two reasons:
- terrorists’ rarely provide operational insight into their planning, and
- the fact that nearly all hoaxes in the United States are conducted by criminal actors or those instigating a nuisance prank.
Consider yesterday’s incidents to be a drill
Now is a good time to review your threat protocols. Of course you call 911, but are the right people authorized to do so. Who else needs to be notified? Should you evacuate? Who makes the decision? Learn more about bomb threats and more on our dedicated webpage: www.jcrcny.org/bomb
Evacuations can be tricky. Review our post, To evacuate or not to evacuate? That is the question. Triggering an evacuation could be an effective part of an active threat plan, with an attacker waiting outside to shoot, stab, bomb or ram those fleeing the building.
Bottom line. Consider identifying a relatively safe haven within your building (e.g., a gym or auditorium). Create a protocol to ensure that the safe haven in inspected every day to confirm that there are no suspicious objects present. If a threat is delivered, the safe haven can be quickly checked and the building occupants can temporarily be moved into that room. After the police arrive, they should check the immediate surroundings for possible threats before the people are allowed to exit.
Of course, there’s an old Army saying (sometimes attributed to Gen. Eisenhower) that, “Plans are worthless, but planning is essential.” May we never need to implement those plans.
Eligible nonprofits can now apply for both state and federal grants to upgrade their security. Some requirements apply to both sets of grants.
- All not-for-profit organizations must be prequalified in order to do business with New York State and to apply for grants. See the options below, under the appropriate grant.
- All New York State applicants must submit their grants through the E-Grants system. If you are already registered, use your existing username and password. If you need to register download the E-Grants Registration Form.
- Not-for-Profit (NFP) organizations receiving an award greater than $50,000 are required to complete a Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire. This form is available at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/vendrep/forms_vendor.htm . Vendors can also file the Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire online through the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) New York State VendRep System. To enroll and use the OSC NYS VendRep system, instructions are available at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/vendrep/index.htm
For New York State assistance contact DHSES at 1-866-837-9133 or email them at Grant.Info@dhses.ny.gov. To submit a question to us email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Click on the buttons below for the necessary forms and the most up-to-date information. Click to the Community Security Initiative (a joint program of UJA-Federation and JCRC-NY) tutorials below for more information and guidance.
New York State Grant
|In New York, federal Request for Applications due on March 18, 2020 by 5:00 p.m. Any at-risk nonprofit is eligible to apply for grants up to $100,000. Note the NSGP-UA is for organizations within a designated Urban Area (in NY: NYC, Long Island and Westchester). Outside the NY Urban Area apply for the NSGP-S grant.
Click on the button above for the official downloads. Here are some additional helpful presentations and sources:
Some changes from last year.
|New York State has two possible grants (check the eligibility criteria) and the due date for both Request for Applications is March 16, 2020 by 5:00 p.m. Organizations eligible to apply may request up to $50,000 per site.
Click on the button above for the official downloads. Here are some additional helpful presentations and sources:
Note: State grant applicants may prequalify using a “streamlined” process found at https://grantsmanagement.ny.gov/securing-communities . Those prequalifying using the traditional prequalification process are prequalified for both grants.
For the $25 million Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes grant, you must be:
For the $20 million Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes for Nonpublic Schools and Day Camps grant, you must be:
To be considered for funding, eligible organizations must:
February 14, 2020
New York State Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes
The NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services moved the deadline for the SFY2019/2020 Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Program (SCAHC Program) and the SFY2019/2020 Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Program for Nonpublic Schools and Day Camps (SCAHC for Nonpublic Schools and Day Camps). The deadline for applications under both RFAs is March 16, 2020 at 5:00pm.
- SFY2019-2020 SCAHC RFA – $25 Million
- SFY2019-2020 SCAHC for Nonpublic Schools and Day Camps RFA – $20 Million
Important Resources for Application
- Frequently Asked Questions *UPDATED*
- Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool *UPDATED*
- E-Grants Tutorial *UPDATED*
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Nonprofit Security Grants Program
Rumors fly that the federal guidance to the grant will be released this afternoon. Another rumor is that the states will have to submit their application packages within 60 days (for NY applicants, sometime before Passover?). Meanwhile, here are some resources to help you to get started,
- FEMA NSGP Webinar Presentation
- JCRC-NY Pre-Grant Release Tutorial (Feb. 13, 2020)
- Understanding & Mitigating the Risks to Faith-Based Religious Institutions (DHS/John Durkin)
- JFNA NSGP resources
- JFNA: Preliminary Guidance: Threat Chronology (February 13, 2020) A great resource for events that are most recent, geographically proximate, and closely related to the type or circumstance of the institution or are of “National Significance” – being of such magnitude or breadth that they create a significant existential threat to the Jewish community at-large.
Recent Propaganda Releases by ISIS and Al-Qa’ida Promote Intensified Attacks by Supporters in the West
This assessment from NYPD has information that can be used to support both the federal and New York State grant applications. We highlighted issues concerning the Jewish community.
Open Source Assessment/February 10, 2020
Two recent extremist propaganda releases disseminated by ISIS’s al-Furqan Media and al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Al-Malahem Media called on Salafi-jihadist supporters to intensify attacks as part of a retaliatory campaign of violence against the West, which may resonate with homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) based in the U.S. Both media campaigns referenced a broad variety of tactics, with ISIS’s statement promoting the use of conventional and chemical weapons, and AQAP’s message promoting simple, low-tech methods, as well as cyberwarfare campaigns.
- While both propaganda statements called for an escalation in attack efforts, ISIS’s propaganda release notably emphasized a “new phase” geared specifically towards targeting Israeli and Jewish interests. ISIS previously referenced chemical weapons tactics in numerous propaganda graphics, demonstrating the group’s persistent support and interest in this attack method. While the NYPD is not aware of any credible, active, or specific threats at this time, this statement, coupled with an already heightened threat environment, may serve as a catalyst for increased violence against Jewish communities.
- Additionally, AQAP’s latest propaganda release may potentially have a stronger resonance with al-Qa’ida-aligned HVEs in the West following the recently confirmed death of Qasim al-Rimi, the leader of AQAP, who was killed in a targeted U.S. counterterrorism operation in Yemen.
- On January 27, 2020, ISIS’s official media apparatus published a 37-minute Arabic-language audio statement attributed to its new spokesperson, Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi, marking his second speech since the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and spokesperson Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir in separate U.S. counterterrorism operations. While much of the statement—titled “God Destroyed Them and a Similar Fate Awaits the Disbelievers”—revisited ISIS’s narrative of survivability and endurance despite strategic setbacks, al-Qurayshi notably declared war on Israel, and called for ISIS supporters to broadly intensify their attack efforts worldwide.
- Throughout the speech, al-Qurayshi claimed that U.S. narratives about ISIS’s defeat in the Middle East are false and that the U.S. has historically been unable to defeat its adversaries, specifically referring to the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. He asserted that ISIS will persist despite al-Baghdadi’s death. The statement appears to have been recorded in recent weeks, as it also referenced the death of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) Major General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in early January 2020.
- After congratulating ISIS militants for waging a retaliatory campaign of violence in response to the deaths of al-Baghdadi and al-Muhajir, al-Qurayshi encouraged supporters to continue the revenge efforts by increasing the frequency of attacks. This specific statement could potentially resonate with lone offenders as a call to arms from core ISIS leadership.
- Al-Qurayshi announced the beginning of a new stage for ISIS aimed at reclaiming Jerusalem. He specifically urged ISIS affiliates in the Sinai Peninsula and Syria to turn Israeli “settlements and markets into a proving ground for your rockets and chemical weapons.” He also ordered Muslims to thwart the U.S. peace plan referred to as the “Deal of the Century,” and implored Palestinians and Muslims worldwide to target Jews. While previous ISIS messaging also emphasized the targeting of Jewish and Israeli interests in an effort to inspire attacks by established ISIS affiliates and lone offender supporters, the emphasis on these targets in this audio message likely coincides with the latest proposed U.S. peace plan for the Middle East.
- On February 6, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Qasim al-Rimi, the emir of AQAP and potential heir to al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed in a U.S. military counterterrorism operation. Al-Rimi was previously featured in a propaganda video disseminated by AQAP on February 2 that claimed responsibility for the December 2019 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, praised global al-Qa’ida-affiliated operations, and emphasized the importance of continued retaliatory attacks against U.S. interests. Given al-Rimi’s death, his latest message urging lone offender attacks against the U.S. may also catalyze HVEs to conduct retaliatory attacks.
- AQAP’s propaganda video featured Qasim al-Rimi, often pairing his image with other al-Qa’ida ideologues. He declared that AQAP was responsible for the December 2019 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola which was conducted by Saudi aviation student Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, who he claimed was a sleeper agent for AQAP. Similar to the retaliatory narrative in past AQAP propaganda messages, he stated that the shooting was in revenge for crimes committed by the U.S. across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Additionally, on February 4, the al-Qa’ida-affiliated al-Shabaab echoed this narrative by congratulating AQAP for its role in the Pensacola attack and encouraged continued lone offender operations in the West.
- Al-Rimi connected the Pensacola shooting to other al-Qa’ida-affiliated operations, stating that it was part of a series of global attacks. He compared al-Shamrani to the group’s other perceived “heroes,” such as Nidal Malik Hassan, the November 2019 Fort Hood shooter, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers who orchestrated the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, in a likely attempt to encourage similar operations by HVEs in the West.
- Most significantly, al-Rimi explicitly called for lone offender attacks in the U.S and told supporters to make sure their “chief concern” is “America.” He urged students, journalists, doctors, engineers, merchants, workers, Arab and non-Arabs to use low-tech, simple tactics, including vehicle ramming, firearms, and explosives. He also encourages viewers to consult AQAP’s Inspire magazine for tactical guidance.
IMPLICATIONS FOR NEW YORK CITY
There is currently no direct, credible or specific threat to New York City following these recent propaganda releases by ISIS and AQAP media entities; however, ISIS’s calls for attacks against Jewish communities highlights the importance of vigilance for suspicious activity indicators at similar locations, houses of worship, and Jewish faith community gatherings throughout the five boroughs. In recent months, authorities have disrupted numerous plots by malicious actors from across the violent extremist ideological spectrum who espoused anti-Semitic views and targeted the Jewish community.
Security personnel are advised to be on alert for suspicious behavior that could indicate pre-operational surveillance for an attack. Such behavior could include individuals taking photographs of security procedures in place, and asking probing questions of security/law enforcement officers stationed outside such locations.
Information sharing and prompt reporting of suspicious behavior indicators between the public, private-sector security personnel, faith community leaders, and law enforcement authorities remains vital to the deterrence, detection, and disruption of terrorist activity and the prevention of attacks.