Synagogue Security: What should our concerns be in this moment?
Friends Chevre,

Synagogue Council of Massachusetts is hosting an important program led by security professionals, Jeremy Yamin, Associate Vice President, Director of Security and Operations and Dan Levenson, Deputy Director for Communal Security, at CJP. Please join us on Zoom for an interactive discussion of current security issues and concerns, available security funds, preparing for an uncertain future and opportunities presented by this moment. We strongly encourage clergy, staff and lay leadership to register for this important program.

Synagogue Security: What should our concerns be in this moment?
Thursday, January 14 from 11:30 am until 12:30 pm. (This program will not be recorded.)
During the program we will learn of safety and security supports and grants. Jeremy Yamin and Dan Levenson will provide a security overview for lay leaders and professional staff, including:

  • An overview of the range of free services and support that CJP CSI provides to the entire Jewish community and interfaith partners
  • Information about eligibility for CJP grants to synagogues as well as Commonwealth and federal security grants,
  • A brief review of what is security and why it requires a holistic, proactive, and synergistic approach to be effective,
  • An overview of the threat spectrum, and issues relating to threat assessment and management
  • Three key pillars of institutional security
  • Addressing new and continuing challenges around safety and security during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Q&A

For more information on the Communal Security Initiative, as well as additional safety and security resources, we encourage you to visit the CJP CSI webpage .

I look forward to seeing many of you for this important discussion on Thursday, January 14 at 11:30 am.

Gretchen Marks Brandt
18th Annual (Chai)
Connie Spear Birnbaum
Memorial Lecture

It is with enormous pleasure that Dr. Herbert Birnbaum and the Birnbaum family along with the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts announce the Chai (18th) celebration of the Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture featuring famed author, Yossi Klein HaLevi. Be on the lookout for the date and other event details.

In the late 1980’s, when the growing divide between the denominations of Judaism threatened the integrity of a single and unified K’lal Yisrael (Jewish people), the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts instituted the Unity Mission to bridge the gaps by bringing together young leaders from across the denominational spectrum to help shape the community’s future. To head this initiative, the Synagogue Council’s Executive Director, Alan Teperow, targeted an extraordinary Jewish communal professional, Connie Spear Birnbaum. Connie had the magnetism and passion for people in general, and her people in particular, to galvanize these forces and bring creativity to the process. The importance of community and the need to operate out of the box--values driven home by the pandemic –are precisely the elements which defined Connie as an inspiring and impactful leader. Upon her untimely passing in January 2003, the Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture emerged to continue her legacy as a partnership of our family and the Synagogue Council.

We are counting on you as we plan for the Chai Anniversary Connie Spear Birnbaum Lecture. Your generosity during the past 17 years has enabled us to perpetuate Connie’s legacy through the Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture. We hope you will provide a tax-deductible gift earmarked for the annual community lecture. We are abundantly grateful to those who have made donations.

Please note the giving levels and ways to contribute:

Pillar      $250+

Patron      $100-249

Sponsor   $54-99

Friend      $36-53

You are invited to donate on-line at by clicking on the DONATE button and selecting DONATE TO CONNIE SPEAR BIRNBAUM MEMORIAL LECTURE.

If you prefer to donate by check, please make your check payable to Synagogue Council, write “Connie Lecture” on the memo line and mail your check to

Synagogue Council of Massachusetts
1320 Centre Street, Suite 306
Newton, MA 02459

We thank you for your consideration, generosity and commitment, and look forward to the Chai Anniversary Connie Spear Birnbaum Lecture with Yossi Klein HaLevi.

May the memory of Connie Spear Birnbaum be for a blessing.