Posted on October 20, 2009 In Press Releases

Legislation Awaits President Signature

Today, the Orthodox Union (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America) – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, applauded the Senate passage of $19 million in security grants to nonprofits, including many Jewish institutions. The Senate voted on the Homeland Security Appropriations Act Conference Report (passed last week by the House) which included this important tool to help prevent terrorist attacks and protect civilians in case of such attack. This appropriation level is $4 million more than last year, $1 million more than the amount initially legislated by the House of Representatives and higher than the $15 million requested in the President’s budget. The Homeland Security Appropriations Act now awaits President Obama’s signature.

The Orthodox Union has worked since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 with other key partners in the Jewish community, including United Jewish Communities, Jewish federations and concerned elected officials initially to create and now to continue and strengthen the nonprofit grants program. To date, the program, part of DHS’s Urban Area Security Initiative has provided approximately sixty-five million dollars to vulnerable nonprofits, including many in the Jewish community. This year, for the first time, the Obama Administration included the program in their proposed budget. The program awards are risk based on the likelihood of a terrorist attack and/or the targets symbolic or historic value.

Nathan J. Diament, OU Director of Public Policy stated:

The Orthodox Union deeply appreciates this much needed aid to synagogues and other Jewish organizations. In addition to the Obama administration, we are grateful to the Members of Congress who pressed for this program, even in a difficult budget year. We offer a special thank you to Senators Mikulski, Specter, Schumer, and Gillibrand as well as Representatives Price, Cantor, Lowey, Serrano and Rogers . We urge the President to swiftly add his signature to this legislation.