Our office, for those who have never visited us there, is on the fourth floor of the Century Plaza buildings in Columbia. It is a nondescript building, full of accountants, dentists, lawyers…and us...the Jewish Federation of Howard County. We have no street level signs, no big Star of David on the entrance to the building, and no presence in the lobby beyond our name on the tenant listing.
But we are a Jewish organization – so in our office suite we do have security cameras, a locked door with a buzzer to enter, and a panic button at the receptionist’s desk in the front. These security measures were installed before my time…and before THESE times.
So when the chair of our Security Preparedness Program, Gary Weinberg, asked me two years ago, if I wanted a panic button in my back corner office, far from any exit, I looked at him and smiled. “I think I’m good.”
Fast forward two years, to our new normal…to an inbox where every day I read about another anti-Semitic attack. There is a swastika on a fraternity house, an act of violence at a Jewish market, neighborhood, community center. You know the cities – Atlanta, Paris, Copenhagen.
Yes – I think I’m ready for a panic button now please! Because although we may be in a non-descript building, we are very much in the public eye. It is our duty, now more than ever, to remain in the publics’ hearts and minds. We want a strong and proud Jewish community in Howard County. By remaining strong we win – by being heard we win – and by remembering, and NEVER forgetting, we win!