Announces Significant Expansion in Operations, Leadership and Funding in Response to Increasing Threats to the Jewish Community
New York, NY, June 15, 2020 … The Community Security Service (CSS), the leading organization focused on providing best-in-class training to build its on the ground volunteer led physical security teams and safety programs that protect Jewish communities nationally, announced today the appointment of Evan Bernstein, a veteran nonprofit executive, as its chief executive officer.
With 2019 witnessing an unprecedented level of anti-Semitic incidents—that experts predict will only increase in 2020 as extremists spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic—CSS is undertaking a significant organizational expansion that will be led by Mr. Bernstein. This includes major new funding sources that will ensure that CSS reaches even more Jewish communities across the country, building nationwide and central office infrastructure, the addition of new board members, and the future establishment of a security advisory board.
In order to meet the latest security demands of the Jewish community, and respond to the urgency of new manifestations of anti-Semitism, CSS has secured material first-time or increased grants from UJA-Federation of New York, The Paul E. Singer Foundation, Rowan Family Foundation, Jeffrey Talpins, The Price Family Foundation, and significant contributions from other anonymous individuals and foundations. Six prominent community leaders have also been elected to the CSS Board of Directors, including Steven Price as Vice Chair, Steven Hughes, Zach Fasman, Barak Klarfeld, Ivan Ross, Carly Maisel and Deena Seelenfreund.
“We are ramping up our efforts to create a more robust operation that meets the latest security demands we see first-hand in our work with communal organizations. With new resources, funding, leadership, and dedicated community members, we are now in a better position to push back against the rising tide of incidents singling out Jewish institutions and equip them with the critical tools needed to create secure environments.”— Edward Sugar, CSS Board Chair
Mr. Bernstein joins CSS with substantial leadership experience of more than 20 years and has been at the forefront of fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of hate, including a long tenure at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), where he served for seven years as the organization’s regional director for New York and New Jersey, and subsequently as Vice President of its Northeast Division overseeing the Connecticut and Boston-based regional offices.
As a national leader in the fight against anti-Jewish animus, Mr. Bernstein has responded to numerous incidents across the country, including recently being on the ground in support of the community in the immediate aftermath of a shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey in December, 2019, and after a series of stabbings at a Hanukkah party in Monsey, New York. Mr. Bernstein has worked tirelessly alongside local and state law enforcement, community leaders and elected officials as a spokesperson and liaison for Jewish communities during and after incidents. He has significant interfaith experience and currently sits on the Governor of New York’s Interfaith Council and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Interfaith Advisory Council. He earned a master’s degree from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Western Connecticut State University.
“There are very few professionals like Evan who hold such a deep level of understanding of the diverse Jewish communal landscape and its crucial security needs. With the rising level and scope of today’s threats, Evan was the ideal choice to lead our organization into this new arena given his long track record of fighting anti-Semitism and hate crimes, deep relationships with law enforcement and community relations prowess.”— Adam Sager, Co-Founder of CSS
CSS’s unique volunteer on the ground model has and will continue to train and empower members from the Jewish community to protect their local synagogues, schools and community events in cooperation with law enforcement agencies. These teams are professionally trained to identify and respond to suspicious activity, thereby addressing a potentially threatening situation long before it might escalate into a serious incident.
“I am honored to have been selected to lead a national organization whose singular ever-critical mission is to protect Jewish life and Jewish way of life,” Mr. Bernstein said. “CSS provides a proven empowered volunteer on the ground model to tangibly address the rising security threats. I am tremendously excited to partner and continue building on the organization’s history and invaluable presence at this critical time for the American Jewish community.”
“We commend CSS for its appointment of Evan Bernstein as CEO, an individual who will bring significant professional experience in management, and whose career in the non-profit sector and serving the Jewish community has been characterized by developing innovative, collaborative programs,” said Michael G. Masters, National Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Secure Community Network (SCN). “In the wake of increased anti-Semitism and threats, the importance of coordinated approaches to safety and security cannot be overstated. I look forward to working with Evan to develop a cooperative, complementary relationship between SCN and CSS, enhancing the safety and security of the Jewish community through our efforts.”
“We are excited to work with Evan and feel our important partnership with CSS is a model that can be replicated nationally,” said Mitchell D. Silber, executive director of the Community Security Initiative, a partnership between the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
Founded in 2007 by David Dabscheck and Adam Sager, CSS protects dozens of Jewish events and synagogue services every week across the United States. Since its inception, the organization has protected thousands of individuals and saved Jewish organizations millions annually on security costs with the help of trained volunteers.
About Community Security Service (CSS):
The Community Security Service (CSS) proactively protects the people, institutions, and events of the American Jewish community. Partnering with Jewish organizations, governmental authorities, and law enforcement agencies, CSS safeguards the community by training volunteers in professional security techniques, providing physical security, and raising public awareness about safety issues. As a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2007, CSS has a trained membership of over 4,000 volunteers, representing the rich diversity of the American Jewish community. Visit www.thecss.org.