Rabbi Abba Cohen, Vice President for Government Affairs and Washington Director of Agudath Israel of America, has been recently appointed to serve on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Faith-Based Security Advisory Council (FBSAC).
According to its July 2020 charter, FBSAC was established as a standing committee for the purpose of providing advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Homeland Security in regard to matters of security concerning faith-based communities, such as protecting houses of worship, preventing and responding to terrorist attacks and other emergencies, and how to best leverage existing security programs. DHS officials have indicated that the Council will begin its work in the next few weeks, during the Biden Administration.
For almost two decades, Rabbi Cohen and Agudath Israel have been heavily involved in liaising with government agencies, and assisting local communities, in assessing and addressing dangers facing Jewish individuals and institutions. Recent years have seen several incidents of bloodshed and violence at synagogues and a dramatic uptick in anti-Semitic incidents.
In a statement, Rabbi Cohen said, “I am honored to have been appointed to the DHS Faith-Based Security Advisory Council to help address this most vital and compelling issue. I look forward to working together with incoming Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to better protect communities of faith.”