The announcement last week that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Councilman David Greenfield have agreed on a measure that will reimburse the city’s larger nonpublic schools for costs they incur in hiring private security guards was enthusiastically welcomed by Agudath Israel of America.

“This is wonderful news,” said Agudath Israel’s executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel. “At a time when the world all around us is becoming an increasingly dangerous place, it is reassuring to know that our political leaders have joined forces to upgrade the security of our precious yeshivos and other nonpublic schools.

“Obviously, as believing Jews, we know that ‘Im Hashem lo yishmor ir shav shakad shomer,’ if Hashem does not watch over a city, the watchman’s efforts are for naught – and so of course we must continue to pray to the Shomer Yisroel to safeguard His people no matter what steps we may take to fortify our yeshiva buildings. But that does not absolve us of our shtadlonus responsibility to take those steps.

“This new city program will go a long way toward helping us discharge that responsibility.”

Agudath Israel has been deeply involved in federal, state and local efforts to promote government funding for security measures designed to protect yeshivos, shuls and other community institutions, and played a prominent role among the numerous nonpublic school advocacy groups promoting Councilman Greenfield’s New York City initiative. Immediately upon receiving the news that the initiative would be passed, Agudath Israel’s Division of Yeshiva Services informed the entire network of New York City yeshivos of this important development.

“Councilman David Greenfield fought like a lion for this funding, and deserves the lion’s share of the credit for bringing this to fruition,” said Rabbi Zwiebel. “Thanks also to the many Councilmembers who supported him in this effort from the start, and special thanks to Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito for helping get it across the finish line.”

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