Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – commended the Department of Homeland Security, its Secretary, Michael Chertoff as well as Governor George Pataki of New York for their 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.
Though a master list is not available, due to security considerations, 112 out of 203 applicants received a grant of up to $75,000, announced the State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, which administers the grant funding as part of the federal government’s Urban Area Security Initiative.
Nathan Diament, public policy director for the Union, stated: “The Jewish community is deeply appreciative of our government’s commitment to protecting our community’s institutions. And we are thankful our federal representatives in Washington have successfully partnered with their counterparts at the state and local level to better serve our community. We hope that the Congress will reauthorize the UASI program this year and that state and local governments will continue doing their utmost in providing funding to secure their at-risk Jewish institutions.”
“We also thank Governor Pataki for adding $1 million to the $6.3 million federal allocation, in recognition of the great needs faced by NYC area non-profits, particularly Jewish institutions.”
In New York, the UASI consisted of New York City, Long Island and Westchester. The program itself, earmarking $25 million nationwide to protect vulnerable non-profits in various high risk areas was the result of successful lobbying by a coalition that included the United Jewish Communities, the American Red Cross and the Union.
Mark Bane, Chair of the Union’s Institute for Public Affairs stated “We are pleased that OU member synagogues participated in this program and that OU/IPA staff were able to assist OU members as well as other community institutions, including day schools and yeshivas in applying for the grants.”