In the spring of 2019, UJA formed a new Community Security department to address concerns about the increase in both local and global expressions of antisemitism, to establish greater community preparedness, and to further our advocacy and education efforts designed to stem this growing trend. Our investment in community security includes providing tools to help our institutions prepare for potential crises and to develop proper emergency protocols. Standing at the helm of these efforts is Ryan Clow, Director of Community Security. This is his story.
The most common question Ryan Clow, UJA’s Director of Community Security, gets asked is: “why?” Why would someone with his background, military decorations, strengths in counter-terrorism strategy, and experience in intelligence analysis leave a job as a private sector consultant to major financial institutions to come and work for UJA?
It’s a good question.
“Anyone who has spent time in Afghanistan experiences a period of re-adjustment when they come home to Canada,” Ryan explains. “I dealt with several Jewish social service agencies when I returned to civilian life in Ottawa, and that’s when I began to learn about and establish friendships and networks in the Jewish community.”
“It was a real eye-opener for me. My personal experiences of racism as part of an inter-racial couple with two inter-racial children provided me with a great deal of empathy for and identification with the increasing levels of antisemitism that impact the Jewish community. The hate that targets this community is the same hate that targets my family,” he says.
“My loyalty to this community stems from the help the community provided me when I returned from Afghanistan, and from a shared understanding of the need to stop hatred in its tracks. My commitment to this community is unflinching, unyielding and unchanging,” Ryan declares. “Although I’m not Jewish, I choose to stand with the Jews.”