Evan R. Bernstein
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|Evan R. Bernstein|
|Known for||Jewish and Israel Activism|
Evan R. Bernstein is an American public figure and community leader, known for his work with Jewish NGOs. He worked for the Anti Defamation League (ADL) from 2013 and became the inaugural CEO of Community Security Service in May 2020. He has been heavily involved in interfaith relations and law enforcement discussions in New York City and the surrounding cities and states.
Early life & education
Bernstein was born in New London, Connecticut on October 6, 1974. He attended East Lyme High School and was educated at Western Connecticut State University, where he played lacrosse and studied social work. Bernstein graduated in 1998 with a BA. He received an alumni award from Western Connecticut State University in 2007 for his professional successes, as he was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from the School of Professional Studies.
Bernstein began his career at United Way, before working in senior positions at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and The David Project Center for Jewish Leadership. He started as the Executive Director and sat on the Israel based senior management team for American Friends of Migdal Ohr in 2011, one of the largest NGOs in Israel.
In 2013, Bernstein was hired by Abe Foxman to be the New York Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League, based in New York City. In June 2018, the New York regional office was merged with neighboring New Jersey, putting the regions under Bernstein's leadership. In December 2019, he was appointed to be the Vice President of the Northeast Division that included the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Boston offices. Shortly after joining ADL, Bernstein spoke about the dangers of hate groups in the US, following the Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting.
While serving as Regional Director for the ADL in New York, the region witnessed an unprecedented rise in antisemitism and violent hate crimes. Bernstein spoke regularly about the issues nationally in media. These incidents have included Anti-Semitic slurs by public figures, vandalism, and other attacks across the region.
In 2018, an attack on Mapbox's naming of Manhattan lead many sites such as SnapChat and the Financial Times to display Anti-Semitic maps on their website. Bernstein spoke extensively with the media about the dangers such attacks can have on the Jewish community.
Throughout December 2019, there were numerous recorded attacks in the borough of Brooklyn, a shooting in New Jersey and an attack on a Rabbi's home. Bernstein was at the scene in Jersey City and Monsey shortly after the incidents. All of the incidents were said to be antisemitic attacks. Bernstein was interviewed frequently on the incidents, often acting as a spokesperson for the wider Jewish community in the states of New York and New Jersey and worked closely with law enforcement. The attack on the Rabbi's home in New York City became known nationally as the Monsey Hanukkah stabbing. Following the incidents, he criticised NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for suggesting this was a “right-wing movement,” which Bernstein suggested was the wrong thing to do as it "normalised antisemitic attacks".
Shortly after the Jersey City shootings, Bernstein and ADL created a partnership with NAACP to reduce hate crimes in the state of New Jersey. The aims were to educate public officials and improve civil rights in the state. The move came after a number of public officials made unacceptable statements about hate crime incidents in the state.
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United States led to Bernstein being regularly in the media, due to the rise in hate crimes. Prior to the pandemic in the country, Bernstein spoke about how he and the Anti-Defamation League had uncovered early discussions about extremists planning to weaponise the virus. He called the findings "deeply disturbing, but not entirely surprising." Bernstein also frequently commented on antisemitic incidents in the United States, following the outbreak of Covid-19.
In May 2020, it was announced that Bernstein would be joining the nonprofit, Community Security Service as its inaugural CEO. The role will help expand the number of volunteers that will be trained to protect Jewish institutions and events across America.
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