Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union) – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – called upon Congress to provide dramatically increased funding for federal grants to enhance the security of American synagogues, Jewish schools and other non-profits at risk of harm.
The Hate Crimes Statistics report released today by the FBI documents that in 2019 there were 7314 hate crimes incidents with a 14% increase in those targeting American Jews. Indeed, the report states that anti-Jewish acts account for more than 60% of anti-religious bias crimes. (It is important to note that these figures are likely low because hate crime reporting is not mandatory.)
To protect the Jewish community against such attacks, the Orthodox Union in 2005 helped spearhead the creation of the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security, which provides grants of up to $100,000 apiece to Jewish day schools, synagogues and other houses of worship and nonprofits to secure their buildings against terror attacks.
Said Orthodox Union Executive Director for Public Policy Nathan Diament:
“Congressional leaders are currently considering funding levels for federal programs for the balance of this fiscal year. The disturbing FBI report highlights the need, sadly, for more security resources for the Jewish community – and other at risk faith communities. We appreciate that the House of Representatives, led by Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey, has set the mark at quadrupling funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to $360 million. And, we appreciate that this dramatic funding increase has been supported by key Senators including Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and others. We call on leaders to finalize and pass this increased funding level for this critical community security program right away.”
Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane:
“We are deeply troubled by what is documented in the FBI’s latest Hate Crimes Statistics report. It sadly confirms what too many Jewish communities across the United States have seen and felt over 2019 and over 2020. We know the majority of our fellow Americans reject anti-Semitic hate and other forms of bigotry. We will work with all people of good will to combat this scourge upon our community and American society at large.”
· View the FBI report here