Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – commended Governor Bob Ehrlich of Maryland for his continued commitment to providing federal homeland security funds administered by the state to Jewish community institutions for the purpose of upgrading their physical security in the face of potential terrorist threats.
Yesterday, in Baltimore, Gov. Ehrlich announced $250,000 in new homeland security funding for 16 Jewish non-profit institutions in Maryland, in Baltimore and the surrounding area including: Suburban Orthodox Congregation, the Mikvah of Baltimore and several area schools and yeshivas.
Governor Ehrlich was first inspired to fund at-risk Jewish institutions after learning of a suspicious incident where a Saudi national was seen video taping the Bais Yaakov school in Baltimore during the Fall of 2003.
These funds, from Maryland’s federal homeland security funding, are available as a result of a successful effort mounted last year by the UOJCA and a coalition of non-profit organizations to have the U.S. Congress appropriate $25 million toward this specific purpose. Governor Ehrlich has previously awarded the State’s own funds as well to help secure at risk non-profits, particularly Jewish non-profits.
Nathan Diament, public policy director for the Union, stated: “The Jewish community is deeply appreciative of Gov. Ehrlich’s ongoing commitment to protecting our community’s institutions and people. Gov. Ehrlich, the trailblazer in this arena, was the first governor in the nation to make federal homeland security funds administered by a state available to secure the safety of Jewish institutions. Now he has shown his commitment and his leadership on this issue not just once, or twice, but three times. We hope other state and local governments follow his example and provide funds to help secure their own at-risk Jewish institutions as well. We thank Gov. Ehrlich for his outstanding and continuing support.”