Photo Courtesy of Rep. Jeffries’s Office
“We all must work together to not only educate and eradicate hate, but to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure safety and security in our communities,” the NY pols, led by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, said in a joint statement.
By Michael V. Cusenza
As part of the federal appropriations legislation passed last month, Congress increased funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to $90 million—a 50-percent boost from previous funding levels, 10 members of the House of Representatives who serve New York communities announced Thursday.
According to the elected officials, the grants provide support, and help improve security and safety at vulnerable institutions throughout the Empire State, including synagogues, mosques, churches, and community centers.
“We have all been horrified by the anti-Semitic attacks over the past few weeks and the rising trend of terrorist attacks on houses of worship,” the NY delegation said in a joint statement. “This cannot continue, because everyone should be able to worship and pray in peace. That’s why we fought to increase critical funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program by 50 percent to help protect and secure these institutions. Additionally, in the coming months our offices will be working with organizations throughout New York City and the entire metropolitan area to ensure those in the community have all the federal grant funding, resources, and tools they need at their fingertips. Because we all must work together to not only educate and eradicate hate, but to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure safety and security in our communities.”
The NY pols also have pledged to host grant workshops throughout the five boroughs in the coming months to help high-risk nonprofit institutions learn about the program and apply for funding.
Thursday’s press conference announcing the security funding increase was held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Manhattan, and at a tumultuous time rife with a rising trend in anti-Semitism and terrorist attacks on religious institutions. Last month, within 24 hours, Jewish worshipers were attacked during a Hanukkah celebration in Monsey, N.Y. and a gunman fired on worshipers at a Texas church, killing two. This follows the anti-Semitic mass-shooting in Jersey City, and a spate of anti-Semitic attacks in NYC during Hanukkah that are being investigated as hate crimes.
Anti-Semitic assaults doubled in 2018, while attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions across the country remained at near-historic levels, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents.
“We thank New York’s Congressional delegation for their swift response of public resources to combat anti-Semitism,” museum President & CEO Jack Kliger said. “We condemn the recent heinous acts of hate in Monsey and New York City, and our heartfelt support goes out to the people and communities who have been harmed. The museum remains committed to educating people about the dangers of what hate can do, both through our educational curriculum and our exhibition, Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. With anti-Semitic violence on the rise, we are profoundly grateful to all those who have demonstrated a desire to learn from the past in order to meet this current moment with the knowledge, courage, and resolve it requires.”