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Pittsburgh Jewish federation provides emergency kits for Jewish classrooms

(JTA) — More than a year after the Tree of Life attack in Pittsburgh, every classroom in synagogue religious schools, Jewish day schools and preschools in western Pennsylvania will now be equipped with medical and emergency equipment.

It’s a project of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, whose Security Committee decided earlier this month that the large backpacks should be placed in the classrooms. The Go Bags, as they are called, include first-aid supplies, as well as equipment such as flashlights, hammers, whistles, phone chargers, zip ties and tape to secure doors.

“If we can save a life or even just help someone in distress, every penny we spend on these Go Bags will be worth it,” Jeff Finkelstein, president and CEO of the federation, said in a statement on its website.

The federation’s security director will train teachers and school administrators on how to use the equipment, Finkelstein wrote.

The shooting by a lone gunman at the Tree of Life synagogue building in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood left 11 worshippers dead.

In January, the federation’s new director of community security, Shawn Brokos, told the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle that there are current threats against the Pittsburgh Jewish community that are being investigated by law enforcement.

“We are actively addressing the threats in an effort to do everything we can to protect the community,” Brokos, who recently retired after 24 years with the FBI, told the newspaper. “The partnership between the Federation and law enforcement is so strong, and we continually monitor these threats in an effort to be proactive and not reactive. I don’t want to instill fear in the community, but I want there to be a healthy awareness.”

On Sunday, volunteers from the Pittsburgh Jewish federation packed the Go Bags.