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 Leadership Briefing 
The Jewish Federations of North America - The Strength of a People. The Power of Community.
Boston Jewish Community Rallies After Marathon Attack
April 18, 2013

In the aftermath of Monday’s deadly attack at the Boston Marathon, the Boston Jewish community has joined together to support victims and others impacted by the tragedy.

Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), the Jewish Federation of Greater Boston, has established the CJP Boston Relief Fund: Support for Marathon Bombing Victims to help the victims of this tragedy and their families. CJP is launching the Fund with a $100,000 donation. One hundred percent of collected funds will be used to aid those who need it most.

In the days since the attack, CJP has focused on bringing Bostonians together to console one another and consider the impact of the marathon tragedy. Earlier this week, CJP participated in a Yom Ha’atzmaut event for more than 900 community members to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day at Temple Mishkan Tefila in Newton, just outside of Boston. The gathering was attended by local dignitaries including Shai Bazak, Israel's Consul General to New England, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Barry Shrage, president of CJP, said the event became so much more than the celebration that was originally intended, providing an opportunity to convene a city in mourning. He reflected on the correlation between the events in Boston and the relationship between Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, and the immediately following Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day – two holidays whose purposes contrast, yet complement, each other.

“This, it sometimes seems, is our fate, forever caught between celebration and mourning,” said Shrage, in a letter to the Boston community this week.

“And so Israel’s Independence Day was not a time of celebration in Boston this year. Instead, it was a time to remember how deeply our communities and our people are tied together, Americans and Israelis, Boston’s Jewish community and our brothers and sisters in Haifa and across Israel,” he wrote. “We are bound together in celebration but also in tragedy, in joy but also in mourning, in trauma but also in resilience.”

Several days after bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon, details remain scarce on possible suspects and motivations for the attack, which killed three and injured more than 170. Earlier today, President Obama spoke at an interfaith memorial ceremony in Boston, then met with victims’ families and marathon volunteers.

Some members of the greater Jewish community were reportedly among those injured. As in past years, a team of runners from CJP was participating in the marathon to help raise funds. Fortunately, none of the team members were harmed.

The Secure Community Network, the national homeland security initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has been in communication with CJP and senior homeland security officials, and has advised that at this time, there is no information to suggest any specific or imminent threat to the Jewish community as it relates to this incident.

However, Paul Goldenberg, director of SCN, said, “We know that unfortunately Jewish communities have been secondary targets of those that have sought to cause harm or havoc. I have asked Jewish communities to remain vigilant in the days ahead, until we have an arrest or more facts on the ground.”

In light of the events in Boston, next week’s first-ever Jewish Communal Security Leadership Summit, organized by SCN at JFNA’s offices, will provide a timely opportunity for leaders at Federations and around the Jewish community to hear from senior homeland security officials regarding the current homeland security threat environment and future outlook.

The sold-out April 24-25 event will address communal safety, security at Jewish institutions, anti-Semitic incidents and hate crimes, and more, with speakers including high-level executives from the Department of Homeland Security, the Anti-Defamation League and other organizations. JFNA will update Federations about the conference next week.

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