ADL Announces Appointment of Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker as Special Advisor on Security
Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker. Courtesy: ADL
On July 25, 2022, the Anti-Defamation League announced the appointment of Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker as Special Advisor on Security to ADL.
Rabbi Charlie, as he is known, was the Rabbi of Congregational Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas and earned international praise for his actions when he and members of his congregation were taken hostage in their own sanctuary. He has recently become Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Winston- Salem, North Carolina.
“We could not be more excited to welcome Rabbi Charlie to ADL where he will provide strategic counsel in helping our communities and leaders protect themselves against violent antisemitism,” said ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt. “At a time when antisemitism and hate crimes are at an all-time high, Rabbi Charlie has experienced firsthand the need for increased vigilance, resources, and programs to counter all kinds of hate and bigotry. We eagerly look forward to learning from the Rabbi’s leadership and expertise.”
“Rabbi Charlie is living proof of the effectiveness that security awareness and training can have in protecting a congregation from harm when there is an active threat.” – ADL
“I am proud to be working with the ADL in the critical work of combating antisemitism and building stronger ties among America’s faith communities,” said Rabbi Cytron-Walker. “Support and training from the ADL have been invaluable to me over the years; it literally saved my life and those of my congregants. This role allows me to help others – clergy, congregational leaders, members of the media – better understand both the challenges we face and opportunities we have by balancing security and hospitality.”
On the morning of January 15, 2022, Rabbi Charlie welcomed a 44-year-old British national into the sanctuary where Shabbat services were about to be live-streamed and offered him a cup of tea. Midway through the service, the man, identified as Malik Faisal Akram, pulled out a gun and took Cytron-Walker and three others hostage. After a nearly 11-hour standoff, Cytron- Walker threw a chair at the hostage-taker, distracting him and allowing for all to escape. In the days after the event, the rabbi testified before a U.S. House committee on the need for increased security funding for synagogues and other places of worship. He appeared widely on television and published an editorial in The New York Times.
ADL said that while this is a new role for ADL, it does not change ADL’s traditional and longstanding role in helping to safeguard the Jewish community in the United States. ADL remains at the forefront of protecting the Jewish community from security threats, both through the work of its Center on Extremism, which detects threats and assesses incidents, and its work on the ground through our 24 regional offices across the United States, who work closely with local law enforcement and with local Jewish community institutions in responding to attacks and threats in real-time.
Rabbi Cytron-Walker’s work with ADL will be alongside his new responsibilities as Rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
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