— Rabbi Avi Shafran
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that non-profit organizations at high risk of terrorist attack and located in DHS-designated urban areas will receive $19 million in security grants to strengthen the physical security of their facilities – through video surveillance equipment, alarmed and reinforced doors and windows, security barriers, metal detectors, locks, gates, fences, personnel training and other improvements. The allocation is part of a more than $1.8 billion Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Preparedness Grant for the current fiscal year.
Numerous Jewish institutions, including community centers, schools, places of worship, charitable organizations, social service agencies and other communal gathering places, will be receiving a share of the allocation.
“Threats, and actual incidents of violence, against Jewish targets in the United States and around the world point to the particular vulnerability of our community, and to the need for these funds, which will help to better ensure Americans’ safety and well-being,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, Washington Director and Counsel of Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox Jewish group.
Rabbi Cohen was one of the original and leading voices in promoting the creation of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in 2005 and in promoting subsequent appropriations and enhancements. Agudath Israel is a member-organization of a coalition, led by the Jewish Federations of North America, committed to keeping the program well-funded and viable.
“This is a very welcome development,” said Rabbi Cohen, “one that will bring needed improvement in security to, among others, Jewish institutions in the Orthodox community.”