[Watch here, courtesy Fox45 News]
Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – applauded Maryland’s U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin for supporting a proposal to better protect houses of worship and other nonprofits by quadrupling funding for the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program to $360 million for 2020.
Orthodox Union Executive Director for Public Policy Nathan Diament participated with Sens. Van Hollen and Cardin and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) along with other faith community leaders at a press conference in Baltimore in support of the proposed increase.
At the event, Diament stated:
“We’re very grateful that Senator Van Hollen and Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Sarbanes have joined this bold proposal to dramatically increase these necessary funds to keep our houses of worship and religious institutions safe, to keep everybody who enters a house of prayer or house of study safe and secure as they engage in that fundamental activity.”
He added, “Jews feel very much at home in the United States and feel equal in their rights to exercise our religion as any other faith group. And that is something that we are at risk of losing right now in the United States. We must work together to ensure all people of all faiths are safe and secure in their places of prayer.”
Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane stated:
“The Orthodox Union is committed to doing everything we can to keep our shuls, schools and community members safe. We must ensure that all Americans of all faiths feel safe when they enter their places of worship.”
Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin stated:
“We applaud Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and other officials who realize the time for statements alone in response to terrible attacks is over. It’s time for action.”
(The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center helped spearhead the legislation that created the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in 2005. Administered by the US Dept. of Homeland Security, it 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 can be used for security improvements to buildings and to hire security guards. At the urging of the Orthodox Union and with the support of Sen. Chuck Schumer and others, Congress in December approved a 50 percent increase to the program, funding it at $90 million for 2020. That allocation brings the total funding for the program to $419 million since 2005. Sen. Schumer first announced the proposal to increase the NSGP to $360 million at press conference with the Orthodox Union’s Nathan Diament on Dec. 30, 2019.)