As the son of a Holocaust survivor, Michael Konsker feels passionately about the protection of the Jewish community. So, when a representative of UJA Community Security came to speak at his synagogue about volunteer opportunities, he and his wife, Sarah, knew that this was the program for them.
Michael and Sarah spoke with UJA’s Kara Segal about their experiences with UJA Community Security and what the greater community should know about it.
What made you both want to get involved in community security?
When UJA Community Security came to Chabad Lubavitch of Markham to speak about their work and how to get involved, it was like a light bulb went off. As people with kids and grandkids who attend this synagogue, we felt like it was an obvious decision to participate in this additional level of security. We can’t just wait until something bad happens—it’s better to be proactive in protecting ourselves.
What kind of training is involved?
There’s a mix of physical and mental training. A member of the UJA Community Security team teaches the basics of Krav Maga (an Israeli martial art), as well as situational awareness. This includes teaching participants what to look for, how to recognize unusual situations, and what to do if there’s an issue.
What would you tell others about the experience?
This kind of training is incredible to have, regardless of the volunteering you do for the community. Having the knowledge of how to defend ourselves physically and gaining a heightened sense of awareness in general makes us feel safer everywhere we go.
No matter your age, there's always a way to help. Whether it’s being an extra set of eyes as congregants come into the synagogue or directing people where to go in case of an emergency. Young or old—community security is so important.
Interested in learning more about UJA Community Security’s training programs? Click here to email Tal Toubiana, Director of Community Security.