After a year-long training program and a moving graduation celebration at Kehilat Chovevei Tzion in Skokie, new graduates of the CCL Shul Safety Officer Program did what they always do – just a little more for their Shuls. The SSOs attended a two-day intensive security/safety training at The Site, the midwest’s premier tactical training facility.

In a year marked by disorder and violence, Chicago’s Concerned Citizens League Shul Members continued in its mission to train and educate the Jewish Community and graduated its first class of Shul Safety Officers. The graduation at Kehilat Chovevei Tzion in Skokie was the capstone to their program and was attended by local Rabbonim, SSOs and their families, honored members of the Skokie Police Department and the Chicago Police Department’s POWSAT (Places Of Worship Safety Advisory Team).

But the education wasn’t quite complete. Last week, over a dozen members of the SSO Program packed their bags, tallis, and tefillin. They headed two and half hours out of Chicago to a  training facility known simply as “The Site,” a former Blackwater training facility now used to train Law Enforcement and private citizens from across the midwest.

Still, it wasn’t all defensive tactics and training drills. The members stayed overnight and brought kosher food, a grill, seforim, and a Sefer Torah for morning davening in the lodge.

“It was a bit of an issue because there was a big elk’s head in the Shul,” said Avraham Hershkovitch, Vice President of CCL Shul Members. “We try to prepare for all eventualities, but this was not on our list. Still, we adapted and overcame,” added Herskovitch. “We put a sheet up across its horns.”

The SSOs also had time to relax and enjoy their camaraderie around a nighttime bonfire. “We are all part of fairly inconspicuous Safety Teams in our Shuls and Community,” said Shneur Osmunson, CCL Shul’s PR Coordinator. “I don’t think the general public really knows what we do or are prepared to do to protect our Shuls. It was important that we were able to get out of our day-to-day environments, daven, eat, train and bond as a unified team. And it is true; real SSOs do smores!”

CCL Shul Members was founded by members of Synagogues in the Chicago area to help Synagogue members obtain instruction, information, and support and to educate and standardize advanced training for safety officers and citizens. The Shul Safety Officers Program is CCL’s pinnacle program. The formally vetted and trained Shul Safety Officers received numerous hours a year of training in Stop The Bleed, CPR/AED, de-escalation, safety, security, and self-defense and professional defensive training. In addition, members also undergo extra security training from top experts in the country. The two-day training program at The Site is just one example of the continuing training that SSOs receive.

“There is simply no substitute for proper training.” Said Chiam Naiditch, President of CCL Shul Members. He also added a reminder for Shuls across the area. “Our SSO Officers play a crucial part in the safety and security of each Shul, but it’s also vital that our congregants participate in the training that we offer their Shuls.”


CCL Shul Members is a 501 (C)(3) organization, and your contributions are needed and greatly appreciated. Please donate at

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CCL Shul Members
CCL Shul Members are local community members in the Chicago Metropolitan area who are concerned for the safety of their community and extended Shul family. ​​Our goal is to educate and train community members to better react and respond to medical and security issues in their Shuls. Members are provided with community updates on local activities and information regarding community safety. Members are educated and trained in Stop The Bleed, CPR/AED, Tactical Emergency Casualty Care, de-escalation, safety, security, and self-defense, as well as knowledge of the law, and compliance with law enforcement. Our members are a diverse group. Medics, educators, professionals, and businessmen. We are a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization.
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