WASHINGTON - About 50 high-ranking federal and state law enforcement officials met with an equal number of leading American Jewish officials for their first “table top” threat exercise.

The Joint Department of Homeland Security - American Jewish Community Table Top Exercise, held Wednesday at an unnamed location in Rosslyn, Va., was designed to identify gaps in information sharing, to share best practices and to push security concerns throughout the American Jewish community.

“This was not just another briefing,” Paul Goldenberg, national director of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Secure Community Network, told JTA. “This milestone event was to have the highest level national leaders together in a room for five hours with senior Jewish leaders so we know going out of that room what we need to know what to do to go forward.”

The program began with a current threat assessment by government officials and then simulated potential threats. It featured participants in an amphitheater-style room where they watched law enforcement coordinate responses to two particular scenarios: multiple attacks on Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora and then on Jewish institutions in the United States.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who participated in the exercise, said in a statement, “Our partnership with organizations and leaders of faith communities has helped, and continues to help, communities across the country prepare for threats that may originate either within our borders or abroad.”

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