Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, welcomed introduction in the U.S. Senate of the bipartisan “Pray Safe Act of 2021,” legislation that will establish a clearinghouse on safety and security to govern best practices for faith-based organizations.
U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) introduced the legislation Thursday. The clearinghouse at the Department of Homeland Security would operate in conjunction with the Department of Justice, the White House and other governmental agencies and departments to educate and publish online best practices and recommendations for the safety and security for faith-based including day schools, synagogues, churches and other houses of worship.
The clearinghouse would, among other things, provide information on targeted violence and terrorism prevention grants programs, as well as resources for applying for the grants.
Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane:
“It is tragic that in the United States today, synagogues, churches, temples and other houses of worship, can’t be assumed to be sanctuaries from violence and strife; but have been the sites of faith-targeted violence. Indeed, today is the sixth anniversary of the heinous shooting of nine African Americans at a bible study at the Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Freedom to worship cannot be enjoyed without freedom from fear.”
Said Orthodox Union Executive Director for Public Policy Nathan Diament:
“The Orthodox Jewish community is grateful to Senators Rob Portman and Maggie Hassan for their introduction of the Pray Safe Act. This legislation, when enacted and implemented, will enable the greater security and safety of our community’s synagogues and other community’s houses of worship. It is sad that we need this kind of legislation – but we do – and we call upon Congress to pass it right away.”