US Jewish groups talk security with senior officials
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US Jewish groups talk security with senior officials

Leaders of national organizations meet with Homeland Security secretary on protection for Jewish institutions

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson gives his first major address, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at the Wilson Center in Washington. (Susan Walsh/AP)
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson gives his first major address, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at the Wilson Center in Washington. (Susan Walsh/AP)

WASHINGTON — Jewish community leaders met Wednesday with the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and other top security agencies staff to discuss protection for Jewish institutions.

Jeh Johnson and his deputy, Alejandro Mayorkas, “underscored the department’s continued efforts to expand partnerships with faith-based and community organizations and state and local officials on civil rights and civil liberties to safeguard local communities,” said a DHS statement released after the event in Washington, DC.

Following the meeting with Johnson, Mayorkas helped lead a tabletop simulation of an attack on Jewish institutions that included leaders of an array of national Jewish groups and representatives from DHS, the FBI and state police agencies.

The simulation underscored “the importance of community engagement to effectively protect communities from violent extremist threats,” the DHS statement said.

The exercise was planned before last month’s deadly attack on a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

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