Today, the leadership of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, issued the following statement in the wake of five violent attacks on synagogues in the Bronx in the past few days, including a new attack on the Riverdale Jewish Center on Monday:
“We are horrified by the multiple attacks upon our community in New York, which occurred at the Riverdale Jewish Center, Young Israel of Riverdale, Adath Israel of Riverdale and the Chabad of Riverdale. These attacks are unacceptable and essentially amount to acts of domestic terrorism. We are grateful to the New York Police Department and its Hate Crimes Task Force for their efforts to stop these assaults; more must be done to keep such acts from occurring.
“One of the most important tools we have to keep our synagogues safe is the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), which provides Jewish facilities and other nonprofits with grants to strengthen building security. Right now, we are working with bipartisan allies in the U.S. Congress to double existing funding for NSGP grants to $360 million so that more synagogues and other terror targets can better secure themselves against such vile hatred and assaults. We ask Congress to move on this important appropriation as soon as possible.”
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which the OU Advocacy Center helped create in 2005, is administered by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security and provides grants of up to $100,000 apiece to synagogues and other houses of worship as well as parochial day schools and other nonprofits at risk of terror attacks. The funds may be used for security improvements to buildings and to hire security guards. The NSGP is currently funded at $180 million, and OU Advocacy has been working with Congress to double that amount for fiscal year 2022.