Photo: Rabbi Avi Schnall, Director, NJ office of Agudath Israel and Senator Menendez
The New Jersey Office of Agudath Israel applauds New Jersey Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) for calling to significantly boost security funding in the federal budget. In separate statements, both Senator Menendez and Senator Booker called for a quadrupling of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) from its current level of $90 to $360 million.
In a statement, Senator Menendez made it clear that silence is not an option in the face of a disturbing number of attacks targeting the Jewish community. Senator Booker decried the attacks, saying that they “have no place in our country”.
The federal NSGP grants are available to houses of worship, schools, community centers and other not-for-profit institutions at risk of being targeted for terrorist attack. The funds can be used for hardening these targets with security enhancements, equipment and personnel.
The proposal comes in the wake of increasing violent attacks on religious institutions and members of religious groups, many of them directed toward the Orthodox Jewish community. Most recently, the community has been shocked by the brutal murder of four victims in Jersey City and the horrific Chanukah attack in Monsey, among other anti-Semitic incidents.
The Agudah, through its Washington Office, under the direction of Rabbi Abba Cohen, has long championed the issue of security assistance for nonprofits and, along with its coalition partners, were among the leading advocates successfully calling for the creation of NSGP grants. Every year since, the organization has sought to strengthen the program, including the most recent increase from $60 to $90 million.