Governor Cuomo (Left) with Rabbi Zwiebel (Right) at the announcement of the new grant in February.

Agudath Israel of America hails NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement today releasing $25 million to protect nonpublic schools and day care centers located in NYS against hate crimes. This new program is now open to applications.

Governor asked the legislature for these funds earlier this year in response to a rise of anti-Semitic incidents around the country, and in particular, rising hate crimes across New York State. The Agudah has long advocated for increased security funding for our schools and other institutions. Agudah activists, together with over 100 other leaders from the Jewish Community and other faith based communities, participated in a round table discussion at the time of the announcement.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announcing the new $25 million security grant for nonprofit nonpublic schools, day care centers and cultural museums in February 2017. Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudah’s Executive Vice President, is seated on the far right.

The State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), the state agency administering the grant, will provide up to $50,000 in grants to cover additional security training needs, cameras and state-of-the-art technology, door-hardening, improved lighting and other related security upgrades. Organizations operating more than one facility may submit up to three applications, for a total request of up to $150,000.

The Agudah’s Yeshiva Services Division has requested that DHSES provide a webinar on the application process to help the yeshivos access this new and important source of funding.

Added Mrs. Deborah Zachai, Agudah’s Director of Education Affairs, “We hope that this grant will help bridge the gap left by the Federal Homeland Security Grant which precludes yeshivos in Rockland County and other parts of New York State from participating. This state grant, in contrast, applies all across the state, and will now provide an opportunity for all yeshivos to apply for meaningful grants to enhance the safety of their children and staff.”

“We thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing the need to increase the safety of yeshivos and other nonpublic schools in this challenging climate,” said Rabbi David Zwiebel, Executive Vice President, Agudath Israel of America. “This is an initiative which can make a real difference. Of course, ultimately, our protection can only come from Hashem, but it is incumbent upon us to utilize every resource to secure our facilities. This initiative will help enable us to do so.”