(Scroll down for updates):
- Reopening and Reentry
- 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 de Blasio’s news feed | New York City Coronavirus page
- Nassau County COVID-19 Information
- Suffolk County Novel 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: July 8, 2020
- School reopening.
- Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza Announce Preliminary School Reopening Plans for Fall 2020. The Mayor explained that there will be different models, “Driven first and foremost by the health and safety of school communities, schools will be provided with specific models to develop schedules for students that include in-person and remote instruction every week. Personalized schedules will be shared with families in August, and the Department of Education will continue to update families so they can plan for a successful return to school buildings.” Click on the above link to read the Mayor’s press release.
- See City & State: Cuomo overrules de Blasio on reopening schools. The state will issue reopening guidelines by July 13, and then school districts, charter schools and private schools will have until the end of the month to submit their plans to the state. Final decisions will be made in the first week of August, the governor said at a Wednesday press conference in Manhattan.
- See the NY Times: The C.D.C. announces it will issue new guidelines for reopening schools, hours after Trump assailed its recommendations.“ “I disagree with@CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!” Mr. Trump wrote [in a Tweet].
Update: July 6, 2020
- Reopening. For guidance for organizations see the Community Security Initiative reopening and reentry page at: www.jcrcny.org/reopening.
- Summer camps. The Court found that the Governor’s decision to close overnight camps for the summer of 2020 had a “real or substantial relation” to the public health crisis. Opening summer camps would encourage “travel from more densely populated areas throughout New York State that have been more heavily impacted by the COVID-19 virus and from several neighboring states … and has the potential to catastrophically eliminate the progress New York State has made to date in limiting the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and to create “hot spots” in areas where the overall level of the virus has been relatively low.” The judge also opined that the seriousness of the public health risks outweighed any possible infringement of First Amendment Rights concluding, “Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadly nature of the virus itself, the lack of a vaccine at the time of this writing, and lack of scientific agreement about its transmission, the Court concludes that the issuance of an injunction is not in the public interest at this time.”
- Rumor control and scams. See the NJ COVID-19 Rumor Control and Disinformation Updates, including information on frauds and scams.
Update: July 2, 2020
- School opening? Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that planning should begin for the reopening of public schools in September. He asked principals to calculate the capacity of their buildings while maintaining social distancing. The plan is that there will be daily, deep cleaning of school buildings, required face masks, continuous hand sanitizing and more. The Mayor did not discuss details.Dani Lever, Communications Director for
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement, “Of course the state consults with local stakeholders and when it comes to opening schools in New York City we will consult with parents, teachers, health officials and local elected officials – but the Governor has said any determination is premature at this point and we will need to see how the virus develops.Of course the state consults with local stakeholders and when it comes to opening schools in New York City we will consult with parents, teachers, health officials and local elected officials – but the Governor has said any determination is premature at this point and we will need to see how the virus develops.”The Governor has also told all school districts to have plans ready for the ‘new normal’ in the event schools can open. The Governor hopes schools will reopen but will not endanger the health of students or teachers, and will make the determination once we have more current information.
- Sick leave for NY workers in high-risk states. On March 18, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation (the “Act”) providing all New York employees with COVID-19-related sick leave (discussed in our previous alert). On June 24, 2020, Governor Cuomo modified the Act by Executive Order (the “Order”) to deem any employee who “voluntarily travels” to a state with a high positive test rate, as defined by the Order (“high risk states”), ineligible for paid sick leave benefits under the Act. This modification applies to employees who travel to high risk states after June 25, 2020 and is currently in effect through July 26, 2020. However, this only applies to voluntary travel; travel “taken as part of the employee’s employment or at the direction of the employee’s employer” is expressly exempt from the eligibility restriction. The stated purpose of this modification is to address the risk of travel-related COVID-19 cases in New York State. To read the Patterson Belknap alert on this topic, click here.
- Public Assistance. Since COVID-19 is a declared disaster, private nonprofits may be reimbursed for certain costs. A publication from NYC Emergency Management Navigating the FEMA PA Program for PNPs is helpful. If your organization incurred costs in response to or resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic you may be eligible. The most common example of eligible work we have seen under this program regards disinfecting, sanitizing facilities and supplies or contracting to do the work. “The work should be consistent with current public health guidance as it relates to disinfection recommendations.” While the costs of disinfection of public facilities is reimbursable, please note the following in the NY DHSES FAQ’s:
- 15. Are cleaning services reimbursable? Answer: An eligible applicant may seek reimbursement for reasonable and necessary costs for disinfecting its common areas to prevent spread of the virus. For example, a hospital may incur costs for more frequent disinfecting of areas where staff, patients and/or members of the public potentially exposed to the virus are meeting for purposes of diagnosis and treatment. This would include not only testing and treatment rooms, but also laboratories, waiting rooms, lobbies, cafeterias, hallways, elevators, stairwells and rest rooms, etc.
- 15a. For which entities? (School? Homeless shelter? Library? Museum? Church/Synagogue?
Municipal building closed to the public?) Answer: With regard to disinfecting a building that has been closed to the public for an extended period of time, be prepared to demonstrate the need for disinfection – what is the threat to public health and safety?
- Cyber Essentials Toolkit. DHS CISA’s Cyber Essentials Toolkit is a set of modules designed to break down the CISA Cyber Essentials into bite-sized actions for organizations to work toward full implementation of each Cyber Essential. Each chapter focuses on recommended actions to build cyber readiness into the six interrelated aspects of an organizational culture of cyber readiness.
- Fraudsters and Scammers. Frauds and scams are up during the shutdown. The Community Security Initiative (CSI) partnered with the Borough Park Jewish Community Council and the Borough Park Shomrim to present a webinar instructing the community how to avoid being a victim. The webinar featured CSI’s Brooklyn Security Manager Adam Berish and DHS CISA’s Region II Cybersecurity Advisor Rich Richards. Click here to view a recording with great tips.
Update: June 3, 2020
Update: May 21, 2020
- Making progress. During his daily press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “All roads are leading to the first half of June, I’m saying first half of June. I’m obviously giving a little bit of range there, but I mean literally the first half of June, so somewhere between June 1 and June 15. Completing the seven metrics set by New York State clears the path for a region to enter Phase I of reopening.
- Religious gatherings. Based on Governor Cuomo’s announcement, the Community Security Initiative (CSI), a joint program of UJA-Federation and JCRC-NY, released its guidance: Update on Guidelines for Religious Gatherings in New York State.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 21, 2020
- Summer camps. Governor Cuomo announced the state is currently investigating 157 reported cases in New York where children – predominantly school-aged – are experiencing symptoms similar to an atypical Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome possibly due to COVID-19. The illness has taken the lives of three young New Yorkers, including a 5-year old in New York City, a 7-year old in Westchester County and a teenager in Suffolk County. To date, 13 countries and 25 other states have reported cases of this COVID-related illness in children. Any decision regarding summer camps will be made after more is known about this syndrome. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 21 2020
- Life expectancy. Using data reported by the New York City Health Department through May 14, 2020, Prevent Epidemics estimated that the excess deaths to date due to COVID-19 caused a drop in New York City life expectancy of 5 years.
Update: May 20, 2020
- Religious gatherings. Beginning Thursday, religious gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed statewide where strict social distancing measures are enforced and all participants
wear masks. Additionally, drive-in/parking lot services will also be allowed beginning Thursday. Governor Cuomo named an Interfaith Advisory Council (including JCRC-NY CEO Michael S. Miller) to guide the reopening of faith institutions. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 20, 2020 (Council list on p. 34).
- As if we didn’t have enough tsuris… FEMA released “COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season” to help emergency managers and public health officials best prepare for disasters, while continuing to respond to and recover from coronavirus (COVID-19). The guide provides actions emergency managers and public officials can take to prepare for response and recovery operations during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response efforts.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 20, 2020
Update: May 19, 2020
- State payments on hold. More than $1 billion in state spending is on hold, but it could be weeks before localities and other recipients of state aid get their money. Another $370 million in grants to upstate cities is also being put on hold, according to The Wall Street Journal, as the state waits to pull the trigger on sweeping state budget cuts to public schools, health care and local governments. The governor told reporters Tuesday that it might be several weeks before the fiscal picture becomes any clearer as efforts continue to secure tens of billions of dollars in new federal aid – according to reports, the U.S. Senate is unlikely to pass another stimulus bill before June at the earliest. (City and State)
- Elections. The Democratic Presidential Primary is reinstated for June 23, 2020, due to court order. The Early Voting period for State and Federal June 23rd Primary will be June 13, 2020 – June 21, 2020. All eligible voters should receive postage-paid applications in the mail. A PDF version of the New York State Absentee Ballot Application Form can be found here. Many primaries for Congressional seats and special elections (including Queens Borough President) will be held on the date.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 19, 2020
- Hospital visits. Governor Cuomo authorized a pilot program that will allow limited hospital visits to designated hospitals. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 19, 2020
Update: May 18, 2020
- New York City’s Orthodox Jews make up half of all plasma donors in this country volunteering blood to help treat COVID-19 patients, London’s Daily Mail reports. The paper quotes Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic, who is running a study on the effects of plasma to treat the virus, as calling “our Orthodox friends” the most numerous of participants in a plasma donation study.“’I would be shocked if they were less than half the total,” Dr. Joyner said. Thousands of Americans who have recovered from coronavirus are donating their blood to plasma clinics in the hope that it can be used to treat other people struck down by the virus (Jewish Week)
- New York City Faces Substantial Fiscal Challenges in the Weeks and Months Ahead, New York City Independent Budget Office. At both the national and local level, the economic damage is enormous, with unprecedented numbers of workers being laid off and furloughed, pushing the unemployment rate to 14.2 percent in April; real (inflation-adjusted) U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to fall by 30.2 percent in the April to June quarter leading to a decline of 5.8 percent for the calendar year as a whole. The U.S. economy is almost certainly already in recession—what is not certain is how long and severe it will be.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 18, 2020, Weekly
- Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 18
Update: May 17, 2020
- EMS Week. Today marks the start of EMS Week 2020, an annual initiative to promote public safety among all New Yorkers and celebrate the life-saving efforts of more than 4,400 members of FDNY’s Emergency Medical Service. The FDNY celebrates each year in conjunction with National EMS Week. “EMS Week is a time each year when we stop to acknowledge and celebrate the tremendous work of our EMTs and Paramedics. COVID-19 has forced us to postpone or cancel our events this year, but I think every New Yorker – and those around the world – have witnessed the heroic efforts of our members during this pandemic and realized why they are rightfully known as ‘the Best’ in our city,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro.
- Jobs. Testing was key to controlling the virus spread. Now, it will be key to monitoring the virus
as we reopen. In New York State (including Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester) you can apply to serve as a (paid) contact tracer. Here is the link for NYC positions. The work is done remotely.
- When are we going to reopen? New York is reopening. Click here for the New York Regional Monitoring Dashboard. See which metrics are holding us back.
- Helping communities plan for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us for the stakeholder calls (click on the links for documents):
- COVIDwatcher. Columbia University has rolled out a new research tool called CovidWatcher which will track COVID-19’s impact on New York City neighborhoods in real time, filling in critical gaps in knowledge of the virus to better understand the needs across New York. Please share the survey tool (https://covidwatcher.
dbmi.columbia.edu/) with your community. It should take about 15 minutes to complete. The survey is intended for everyone to fill out, regardless of symptoms or concerns about exposure.
- Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 14, May 15, May 16, May 17, 2020
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 15, May 16, 2020
- Protect Against Flu: Caregivers of Infants and Young Children
Update: May 14, 2020
- Five out of the 10 regions in New York are scheduled to begin phased reopening tomorrow, having achieve all seven metrics for reopening. NYC and Long Island are 4/7; Mid-Hudson 5/7. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 14, 2020
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 14, 2020
- Cybersecurity: Top 10 Routinely Exploited Vulnerabilities. Sophisticated foreign cyber actors often exploit the same holes in your cyber practices. DHS and the FBI tracked the most common ones. Most of the list will make sense to your technology department or consultant. Share it with them. One tip is critical: “Cybersecurity weaknesses—such as poor employee education on social engineering attacks and a lack of system recovery and contingency plans—have continued to make organizations susceptible to ransomware attacks in 2020.”
Update: May 13, 2020
- Two Queens Men Charged After Buying Three Illegally Defaced Firearms and Two Assault Rifles. A criminal complaint was filed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Daniel Jou and Joseph Miner with receiving and possessing multiple firearms with obliterated serial numbers. “As alleged, after Joseph Miner praised extremist violence and expressed racist and anti-Semitic hatred on the internet, he and his co-defendant bought a collection of illegal firearms capable of inflicting mass bloodshed,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “What the defendants did not know was that they were buying the guns from an undercover federal agent who had been investigating their plan to buy weapons that would be impossible to trace. As alleged in public filings, law enforcement authorities began investigating Miner in late 2019 when he posted on social media accounts his interest in obtaining assault weapons and other firearms for a racial civil war or racial holy war.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 13, 2020
- Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 13, 2020
Update: May 12, 2020
- Senate hearing. “If we do not respond in an adequate way when the fall comes, given that it is without a doubt that there will be infections that will be in the community, then we run the risk of having a resurgence,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a Senate panel (follow the link for the New York Times article).
- FEMA Releases Kit to Help Organizations Plan for Resuming Full Operations During COVID-19. As organizations across the country plan for when and how to resume full operations while protecting the well-being and safety of their employees and communities, FEMA has created an Exercise Starter Kit to help organizations facilitate their own internal workshops based on reconstitution planning principles and the White House’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again and a FEMA fact sheet on “Planning Considerations for Organizations in Reconstituting Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The kit for organizations and government agencies includes a fact sheet, sample slides and a facilitator guide with suggested questions.
- Anti-Semitic incidents at record levels. In 2019, ADL recorded 2,107 antisemitic incidents in the United States, the highest number since ADL established the Audit in 1979. The high number of incidents came as the Jewish community grappled with vicious and lethal antisemitic attacks against communities in Poway, Jersey City and Monsey, and a spree of violent assaults in Brooklyn.The 2019 ADL Audit of Antisemitic Incidents found that the total number of antisemitic incidents in 2019 increased 12 percent over the previous year, with a disturbing 56 percent increase in assaults. The audit found there were, on average, as many as six antisemitic incidents in the U.S. for each day in the calendar year. Register for the webinar discussing the audit here.
- And now for something completely different. The WNYC show “Radiolab” recently posted a profile of 19th-century physician Ignaz Semmelweis. Starting in 1847, he promoted hand-washing in Vienna’s General Hospital to reduce diseases associated with childbirth—and was castigated for it. The segment features Dr. Nancy Tomes, historian of medicine at Stony Brook University.
Update: May 11, 2020
- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the first step in “how do we reopen without taking a step back?” His metrics indicate that three Upstate regions will be ready to reopen by the end of this week. “June is when we’re potentially going to be able to make some real changes if we can continue our progress,” Mayor de Blasio said today. The Governor presented three categories of “Business Precautions” that will guide reopening practices throughout the state:
- People: Adjusted workplace hours and shift design; Social distancing; and Restricted Non-essential travel
- Places: Masks required if in frequent contact with others; Strict cleaning and sanitation standards
- Processes: Continuous health screening to enter workplace; Continuous tracing, tracking and reporting; Liability
The Community Security Initiative, a joint program of UJA-Federation and JCRC-NY, is preparing a guide to organizational reopening and reentry. Feel free to direct any questions that you have to our team at email@example.com. Click to the Governor’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 11, 2020.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 11, 2020, Weekly
Update: May 10, 2020
- Mayor de Blasio Appoints Members to the Non-Profit and Social Services; Public Health and Healthcare; Faith-Based and Education Sectors Advisory Councils
- Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 9, 2020, May 10, 2020,
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update May 10, 2020
Update: May 7, 2020
- Gift card scams. Another new phishing campaign is around, with scammers impersonating known individuals (likely using display name and/or email address spoofing). They request recipients to purchase gift cards for essential workers. The sender asks for the codes on the back of the gift cards after purchase in order to distribute the funds. In an email shared with the NJCCIC, the sender impersonated the town’s mayor (some scams impersonated rabbis) with a subject line of “FOR OUR ESTEEMED STAFFS:” and requested seven $100 gift cards. While recipients may ordinarily be suspicious of an email containing grammatical errors and requesting the purchase of gift cards, referencing the recipient by name and claiming the request is for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic may make these emails appear more genuine. Never purchase gift cards and send the codes to someone without verifying the request first via a separate means of communication. These unusual requests should be handled with increased suspicion.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update May 7, 2020
- Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 7, 2020
- Dr. Fauci and Rosh Hashanah. Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Orthodox Union Thursday that it would be possible for people to gather in synagogues for the Jewish High Holidays in the fall if contact tracing is implemented to avoid a second wave of the pandemic. Read the article in the Forward.
Update: May 6, 2020
- Active shooter guidance for special needs populations. DHS CISA has a new active shooter preparedness resource. The Active Shooter Preparedness: Access and Functional Needs video provides information that organizations may incorporate into their emergency action plans to ensure that persons with access and functional needs are properly considered during an active shooter incident. This video was developed in coordination with the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, FEMA Office of Disability and Integration, Society for Human Resource Management, and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services / Office of Access and Functional Needs. It is currently available via the DHS YouTube website (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3-_z1Q1bFg&t=5s), and will be posted onto the CISA Active Shooter Preparedness website in the coming days. 2019 FBI Active Shooter Report.
- Once again, we’re not being invaded. Three JetBlue A320 aircraft will conduct a flyover salute near Manhattan, Queens & the Bronx on Thur. 5/7 at 7pm. The salute will coincide w/the 7pm clap to honor frontline healthcare workers. The aircraft will fly at approximately 2,000ft. Please follow social distancing guidelines if viewing in public. For more details: https://bit.ly/
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update May 6, 2020
- Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 6, 2020
Update: May 5, 2020
- NY Attorney General. Guidance for Conducting Virtual Meetings of Members of New York Not-for-Profit Corporations, Guidance for Charitable Nonprofit Organizations Facing the Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic The Charities Bureau also wants to assure not-for-profit membership corporations that, in exercising its authority pursuant to the N-PCL, the Charities Bureau will recognize the necessity to conduct virtual meetings of members at a time when, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing is required or advisable to promote the health and safety of participating members. JCRC-NY’s General Counsel, Marcia Eisenberg, strongly suggests that organizations, without a provision for virtual meetings, amend their bylaws to include the option. The AG Guidance shows how to do so.
- Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order extending certain emergency measures necessary to deal with the disaster until June 4, 2020. May 4, 2020 Presentation.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update May 5, 2020
Update: May 4, 2020
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today outlined additional guidelines for when regions can re-open. The state will monitor four core factors to determine if a region can re-open:
- New Infections: Based on guidelines from the CDC, regions must have at least 14 days of decline in total net hospitalizations and deaths on a 3-day rolling average. In regions with few COVID cases, the region cannot exceed 15 net new total hospitalizations or 5 new deaths on a 3-day rolling average. In order to monitor the potential spread of infection in a region, a region must have fewer than two new COVID patients admitted per 100,000 residents per day.
- Health Care Capacity: Every region must have the health care capacity to handle a potential surge in cases. Regions must have at least 30 percent total hospital and ICU beds available. This is coupled with the new requirement that hospitals have at least 90 days of personal protective equipment stockpiled.
- Diagnostic Testing Capacity: Each region must have the capacity to conduct 30 diagnostic tests for every 1,000 residents per month. The state is rapidly expanding capacity statewide to help all regions meet this threshold.
- Contact Tracing Capacity: Regions must have a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents, and additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in the region. The state is currently building an army of contact tracers with Mayor Bloomberg to meet the needs of each region statewide.
The Governor also outlined new safety precautions that each business (Comment: and probably nonprofits when the time comes) must put in place upon re-opening to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. Businesses will be required to:
- Adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace;
- Enact social distancing protocols;
- Restrict non-essential travel for employees;
- Require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others;
- Implement strict cleaning and sanitation standards;
- Enact a continuous health screening process for individuals to enter the workplace;
- Continue tracing, tracking and reporting of cases; and
- Develop liability processes.
Update: May 3, 2020
- FEMA is coordinating two shipments totaling a 14-day supply of personal protective equipment to all 15,400 Medicaid and Medicare-certified nursing homes in America. The first shipments are expected to begin next week. The shipments are meant to supplement existing efforts to provide equipment to nursing homes. HHS and FEMA have expanded items supplied by the International Reagent Resource (IRR) to help public health labs access free diagnostics supplies and reagents.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update: May 1, 2020, May 2, 2020, May 3, 2020
- Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Coronavirus Presentation: May 1, 2020, May 2, 2020,
Update: April 30, 2020
Governor Cuomo daily. Our playbook to tackle COVID-19 operates on three premises: Test — Trace — Isolate. As we steadily ramp up our testing capabilities, we also need to expand contact tracing. Contact tracing is the art (and hard work) of tracking down close contacts of those who have tested positive for the virus. The new, nation-leading tracing program that Mike Bloomberg and I announced last week is expected to expand to 6,400 to 17,000 tracers statewide. To build this army of tracers, former Mayor Bloomberg and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, along with the NYS Department of Health, will lead the recruitment, hiring and training of our tracers. Gov. Cuomo’s April 30 coronavirus presentation.
- COVID-19 and faith. Has the COVID-19 pandemic touched a very intimate part of Americans’ lives: their religious faith and worship habits? Some Americans say their religious faith has strengthened as a result of the outbreak, even as the vast majority of U.S. churchgoers report that their congregations have closed regular worship services to the public, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Americans in historically black Protestant churches and those who describe themselves as very religious are particularly likely to say their faith has strengthened. Jews, on the other hand, are more likely to say their faith hasn’t changed much (69%) or that the question isn’t applicable to them because they are not religious (22%) than they are to say their faith has grown stronger during the outbreak (7%).
- CDC and EPA: Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes
- DHS Telework guidance. The experts at DHS CISA (Cyber + Infrastructure) collected resources to assist organizations and teleworkers to be secure when working remotely. Click to their site at https://www.cisa.gov/telework for guidance, best practices and more. See also the COVID-19 Security Resource Library of the National Cybersecurity Alliance on ways to stay safe online and avoid cyber threats and scams during this pandemic.
- Returning to work. Reopening will bring a new workplace and some firms shared good suggestions with us. Cozen O’Connor: Return to Work Post-Coronavirus Checklist; Herrick: Rethinking Business Operations in the Wake of COVID-19; Paul Weiss: COVID-19 Update: Practical Considerations for Employers as They Prepare for a Return to the Workplace; Proskauer: New York’s Governor Outlines Plan to Re-Open Businesses; Skadden: Considerations for Returning to Workplaces in the Wake of COVID-19; Withum: Returning to the Workplace: Post-Pandemic Considerations;
- Harvard Business Review: How to Combat Zoom Fatigue. Five research-based tips.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 30, 2020
Update: April 29, 2020
- Are summer camps in our future? See the ACA-Camp Contingency Plan Graph here.
- Twelve steps to recovery. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s April 29 Coronavirus Presentation. Yesterday he outlined twelve guidelines as part of the reopening plan. Read the full guidelines here.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 29, 2020
- Williamsburg Funeral. Read JCRC-NY’s comments on yesterday’s funeral crowd in Williamsburg here. Statement by congregation here.
Update: April 28, 2020
- Governor Andrew Cuomo’s April 28 Coronavirus Presentation. Social distancing, continued testing, and ongoing monitoring protocols are part of our new normal; Businesses must be able to adapt to this and meet federal and state guidelines before reopening.
Planning Considerations for Reconstitution: April 30, 2020, 12 PM – 1PM – Join the FEMA Region II National Preparedness Division for a webinar to learn about best practices for the reconstitution of operations to enable organizations to return to normal, or new normal after an incident. Register here.
- The Department of Labor issued new guidance last night that will impose tremendous costs on self-insured nonprofits. In short, it’s a worst-case scenario. For an interpretation of the guidance, see the National Council of Nonprofits’ analysis: DOL Issues Breathtakingly Cruel Guidance Inflicting Billions in Immediate Costs onto Charitable Organizations Struggling to Serve Their Communities.
- MTA: B, C, W, Z, and 42 St Shuttle service are not running.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 28, 2020
Update: April 27, 2020
- IPads for some nonpublic school students. the New York City Department of Education (DOE) announced that students in nonpublic schools who receive special education and related services from the City, will be eligible to apply for the free iPad distribution program. A parent or school leader can apply to this program at: https://coronavirus.schools.
nyc/RemoteLearningDevices. The student ID number is the found on the student’s IESP. The progress is due to advocacy by Teach NYS, UJA Federation of New York and The Jewish Education Project.
- It’s not an invasion. (Tuesday at noon) To honor frontline medics, doctors, first responders, and essential personnel, eight (8) US Air Force Thunderbird F-16 Jets with red, white and blue markings, and seven (7) US Navy Blue Angel Jets will be conducting a flyover, viewable in much of NYC, Long Island and Westchester (download the route here). Residents should observe the flyover from the safety of their home-quarantine and social distancing should be practiced at all times.
- Antibody testing. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s April 27 Coronavirus Presentation. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that 14.9% of New Yorkers – and 24.7% of New York City residents – were found to have COVID-19 antibodies, according to updated results of a statewide study of 7,500 random people.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 27, 2020, Weekly
- Alternate side of the street parking. The New York City Department of Transportation today announced that the suspension of Alternate Side Parking regulations will be extended through 5/12. Payment at parking meters will remain in effect throughout the city.
Update: April 26, 2020
- The Forward: Orthodox Jews organize to donate plasma by thousands
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to slash aid to localities by $8.2 billion and cut state agency budgets by 10% unless new federal aid comes through in the coming weeks, according to an updated state financial plan released Saturday The plan is based on Boston Consulting Group projection of the economic impact assessment from COVID-10 on NY State. Here is the Governor’s Sunday briefing presentation.
- The Importance of Planning and Best Practices for Houses of Worship. April 29, 2020, 1 PM – 2:30 PM – Join the Region II National Preparedness Division webinar specifically for Houses of Worship and Faith-Based organizations. Register here.
- Absentee voting. Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order mandating that the NYS Board of Elections automatically mail all registered voters postage-paid applications for an absentee ballot for the upcoming June 23 elections, saying: “No one should have to choose between their health and their civic duty.”
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 26, 2020
- Recovery cost tracking webinar. April 29, 2020, 4 PM – New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) invites local private non-profit organizations (PNPs) to join us to discuss best practices and key considerations for COVID-19 cost recovery. During this presentation, we will discuss the importance of tracking labor, contract work, materials/supplies, and equipment costs related to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. We will also discuss examples of tools that can be used to help manage your costs and financial data to support potential reimbursement claims through federal funding programs, such as FEMA Public Assistance (PA). This webinar will be the second presentation in a series hosted by NYCEM focusing on COVID-19 cost recovery for PNPs. Register here. Click here to listen to the first presentation.
Update: April 23, 2020
- Governor Cuomo presented the preliminary Phase I results of an antibody study, collected over two days in 19 counties and 40 localities across NY State. People were tested at random in grocery stores and other box storesl Statewide the weighted infection rate is 13.9% and the death rate may be lower than some estimates. That means 2.7 million people infected statewide, with 15,500 total fatalities (or approximately 0.5% of the people infected. See the Governor’s full presentation here. The testing will continue on an ongoing basis and as the sample size grows, so does the reliability of the data.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 23, 2020
- Your facility is closed, but is it secure? Here are some tips to foil thieves and vandals
Update: April 22, 2020
- Contact tracing. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mike Bloomberg today announced a new nation-leading COVID-19 contact tracing program to control the infection rate of the disease. Mike Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies have committed organizational support and technical assistance to help build and execute this new program. The contact tracing program will be done in coordination with the downstate region as well as New Jersey and Connecticut and will serve as an important resource to gather best practices and as a model that can be replicated across the nation. There has never been a contact tracing program implemented at this scale either in New York or anywhere in the United States. Learn more here.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 22, 2020
- Anti-Semitism. Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the Moshe Kantor Database for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism researchers reported that there was an 18% rise in violent antisemitic incidents worldwide over 2018, the highest rise since 2014. There were 456 major violent anti-Semitic attacks; 53 attacks on synagogues; 169 attacks on individuals; and seven murders. There is now a new crop of antisemitism: COVID-19-related antisemitism. People are using the pandemic to spread racism, xenophobia and antisemitism. This kind of antisemitism proposes that Jews as a collective and Jews as individuals are behind the spread of the virus or are directly profiting from it.
Update: April 21, 2020
- White House meeting. Governor Cuomo met with President Trump today in the White House to discuss testing. They agreed that the state will be responsible for managing the actual tests in state laboratories. The federal government, meanwhile, will take on the responsibility of supply chain issues that are beyond states’ control. The President and Governor also discussed much-needed funding for the states — and the White House team understood our need.
- Regional openings. New York will will make reopening decisions on a regional basis, depending on the facts on the ground, recognizing that not all regions are impacted with COVID-19 in the same way. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will coordinate Western New York’s public health and reopening strategy, and former Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy will volunteer as a special advisor to coordinate the Finger Lakes’ public health and reopening strategy.
- CDC: Psychological First Aid: Addressing Mental Health Distress During Disasters. Webinar: April 22, 2020 at 1 p.m. ET. https://www.zoomgov.com/j/
- NJ Office of Homeland Security: Facts on COVID-19 Rumors and Disinformation
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 21, 2020
- Ramadan Mubarak. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins on the evening of Thursday, April 23 and ends on Saturday, May 23, 2020. This year’s Ramadan comes as the world responds to the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and as a result, many Ramadan celebrations and traditional religious gatherings involving more than 10 people will not take place.
Update: April 20, 2020
- Federal purchasing. HHS and FEMA continue to provide federal support to state run testing. HHS and FEMA have expanded items supplied by the International Reagent Resource (IRR) to help public health labs access free diagnostics supplies and reagents. Consolidating testing supplies under the IRR simplifies the resource request process for states and territories and alleviates the burden on public health labs on needing to work with separate suppliers for swabs, reagents and other diagnostic testing supplies.
- Best practices. FEMA and HHS have centralized best practices and lessons learned to help medical practitioners, emergency managers, and other stakeholders learn from each other’s approaches. The FEMA Coronavirus Emergency Management Best Practices page contains resources for all levels of government, private sector, academic institutions, professional associations, and other organizations responding to the pandemic.
- Zoombombing investigation. Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. announced an investigation into recent anti-Semitic “zoom-bombing” of Jewish religious services in Westchester, which were being video streamed in an effort to bring people together while following social distancing directives. The incidents took place via a Jewish center video stream Friday, April 3, 2020, and a second incident the following week from another congregation. In both cases, congregation leadership had sent email invitations for anyone to join the interactive video stream. In both incidents, an unknown person or persons logged into the Zoom-based video conference and interrupted the services with anti-Semitic acts, including posting swastikas and other offensive material for all participants to see.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 20, 2020, Weekly.
- Capalino+Co: COVID Resources for Businesses and Nonprofits
Update: April 19, 2020
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo commented that recent news is good, but only compared to terrible news. “If the data holds and if this trend holds, we are past the high point, and all indications at this point are that we are on a descent,” Cuomo said. He continued: “The war is not won. The second phase will require us to:
- Do no harm;
- Be smarter-develop new testing;
- Learn the Lessons Build Back Better
The Governor repeated. “Don’t get arrogant. This virus has been ahead of us every step of the way. This is only halftime in this entire situation,” he said. “The beast can rise up again. We know that.”
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 19, 2020
- Check out the guidance on the CDC webpage on Stress and Coping
- Your facility is closed, but is it secure? Here are some tips to foil thieves and vandals.
Update: April 13, 2020
- Recognizing that their states have one integrated regional economy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Delaware Governor John Carney and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo today announced Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is joining the multi-state council to restore the economy and get people back to work. New York is partnering with these five states to create a multi-state council that will come up with a framework based on science and data to gradually ease the stay at home restrictions and get our economy back up and running. But even as Governor Cuomo hinted that he believed that “the worst is over,” he warned the situation would worsen if New Yorkers behaved recklessly.
- FEMA has created a Rumor Control page to provide groundtruth on rumors and facts
- FBI Warns of Emerging Health Care Fraud Schemes Related to COVID-19 Pandemic
- DHS: Falsified Positive COVID-19 Claims Could Have Significant Impact on Private Industry
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 13 2020, Weekly Incident Brief
- CDC: Guidance for Childcare Programs that Remain Open
Update: April 12, 2020
- Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Please join JFNA for an important webinar on the current state of the program, including updates on Small Business Administration guidelines related to independent contractors and more, and how we can all work together to ensure that additional resources and improvements are made to the program. If you have already accessed the program, here is a chance to help others in need get the same benefit. If you have not yet accessed the program, here is a chance to help make sure the program is there for your organization. TOMORROW, Monday, April 13, 4:30 PM ET. REGISTER NOW.
- Societal stressors may bring more hate. In a letter to faith leaders, DHS Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security, Brian Harrell, noted that “… stressors caused by the pandemic may contribute to an individual’s decision to commit an attack or influence their target of choice. When you begin efforts to reconstitute services and welcome congregants back into your houses of worship, please also review your security plans and ensure procedures are in place to protect your facilities and visitors. Although there are no imminent or credible threats at this time, there has been an increase in online hate speech intended to encourage violence or use the ongoing situation as an excuse to spread hatred.” Click here for the full letter.
- The IRS issued notices on April 9th delaying the filing deadlines for Form 990s, Form 990-T, and many other non-individual tax returns until July 15 at the earliest. Read the announcement.
- Health industry funding. On Friday, the Department of Health & Human Services released the first tranche of $30 Billion out of the $100 Billion for health care providers as they grapple with COVID-19 needs and expenses. The funds are part of the CARES Act Public Health & Social Service Relief Fund (nicknamed “The Marshall Fund”). All facilities that have received Medicare fee for service (FFS) reimbursements in 2018 are eligible for this initial rapid distribution. There is no application form to fill out, the funds will be directly deposited in partner agency accounts who qualify at some point this week. On average, the funds will amount to 6% of the Medicare funds providers received in CY 2019. In other words, if a provider billed $100 million in 2019, they would receive $6 million via direct deposit.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 11 2020
- Funding resources. NYC Emergency Management Community Preparedness Grant Funding Tracker.Note: NYC EM compiled this list of resources for the community to use, but these resources are not directly connected to NYC Emergency Management. They can’t guarantee any availability of resources/accuracy of information.
- Times of Israel: German exhibit on Black Death goes viral, then virtual; shows Jews were blamed
- Census. To complete the census, go to my2020census.gov and enter your name and address, or call 844-330-2020, to complete by phone. It only takes ten minutes to answer the ten questions the census asks, yet it affects the next ten years of our city’s future and will impact how our city will rebound from this crisis.
- Rush hour speeds on the BQE are up 288%!
Update: April 7, 2020
- The community owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Chevra Kadisha’s everywhere (nasck.org), for their selfless, holy work. Here are their “Guidelines for Levayahs (funerals) and Cemeteries“, written to allow for the proper respect for the departed in keeping safe.
- From our friends at the Human Services Council: Yesterday, the State of New York released guidance for contracted nonprofit human services providers. The guidance outlines performance requirements for funding during COVID-19.
- Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today Fun at Home, a free new digital platform to provide safe, fun, and entertaining virtual activities for New York City’s teens and young adults. This first-of-its-kind campaign combines city and community resources to engage teens who are at home during the COVID-19 crisis, and also provides tips to cope with the public and mental health challenges that may arise during this difficult time.
- Celebrate Passover safely by following these #FDNYSmart tips
- Previously released data suggests that coronavirus death and infection rates are much higher in communities of color in New York City – reflecting national trends – given the rates of confirmed cases in neighborhoods with large black and Latino populations – an issue that was the subject of a Tuesday morning press conference by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. While New York state and California have not released death rates by race or ethnicity, data from Chicago shows that black people account for about 68% of the city’s deaths.
Last week the White House and the CDC released new recommendations for everyone to wear a face covering outside the home. While staying home is still preferred, wearing a cloth covering and keeping appropriate physical distance will help protect others—even if you are not currently symptomatic with COVID-19–on those limited occasions you do have to go out.
The CDC has given very good information about how to make masks that are suitable, so that we can continue to reserve medical masks and PPE for healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Update: April 6, 2020
- New York will stay on PAUSE for an additional two weeks through April 29th. Governor Cuomo directed schools and nonessential businesses to stay closed through April 29th. He will re-evaluate after this additional period.
- NYC Emergency Management Private Sector Update Apr 6 2020, Weekly Incident Brief
- SBA: FAQ’s Regarding participation of Faith-based organizations in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
- Fighting Hate From Home: Zoombombing and Other Threats to Your Videoconferencing. On Tuesday, April 7 at 2:30 PM ET/11:30 AM PT, ADL and SCN are offering an important new webinar in the Fighting Hate from Home series to help unite and inform our community: ‘Zoombombing and other threats to your videoconferencing.’ Register here.
- FBI: Fraudsters are taking advantage of the uncertainty and fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, access your personal and financial information, and use you as a money mule. See more here. The FBI on business email compromise schemes here.
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.