$19 Million in Homeland Security Grants to Jewish Institutions


homeland-securityThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced yesterday that non-profit organizations at high risk of terrorist attack and located in DHS-designated urban areas will receive $19 million in security grants to strengthen the physical security of their facilities – through video surveillance equipment, alarmed and reinforced doors and windows, security barriers, metal detectors, locks, gates, fences, personnel training and other improvements. The allocation is part of a more than $1.8 billion Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Preparedness Grant for the current fiscal year.

Numerous Jewish institutions, including community centers, schools, places of worship, charitable organizations, social service agencies and other communal gathering places, will be receiving a share of the allocation.

“Threats, and actual incidents of violence, against Jewish targets in the United States and around the world point to the particular vulnerability of our community, and to the need for these funds, which will help to better ensure Americans’ safety and well-being,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, Washington Director and Counsel of Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox Jewish group.
Rabbi Cohen was one of the original and leading voices in promoting the creation of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in 2005 and in promoting subsequent appropriations and enhancements. Agudath Israel is a member-organization of a coalition, led by the Jewish Federations of North America, committed to keeping the program well-funded and viable.

“This is a very welcome development,” said Rabbi Cohen, “one that will bring needed improvement in security to, among others, Jewish institutions in the Orthodox community.”

The Orthodox Union released the following statement: 

The Orthodox Union  applauds the awarding of $19 million in security grants to nonprofits, including many Jewish institutions, by the Department of Homeland Security. The awards, announced yesterday, are an important tool to help prevent terrorist attacks and protect civilians in case of such attack.

The Orthodox Union has worked since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 with other key partners in the Jewish community, including the Jewish Federations of North America, as well as 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 eighty million dollars to vulnerable nonprofits, including many in the Jewish community. The program awards are risk based on the likelihood of a terrorist attack and/or the target’s symbolic or historic value. The Institute for Public Affairs was pleased and proud to work with OU member institutions in preparing applications to the grant program.

Stephen J. Savitsky, President of the Orthodox Union said: “We have sadly been reminded many times over that Jewish synagogues and institutions are high-profile targets for terrorist attack, and often lack the resources needed to secure their buildings and those who pray and study within them. We are grateful to the Obama Administration, the United States Congress and the Department of Homeland Security for recognizing these needs and for this much-needed aid to synagogues and other Jewish organizations. As well, we are proud that the OU, through our Institute for Public Affairs, played a key role in the appropriation and distribution of these funds.”

Nathan J. Diament, OU Director of Public Policy stated, “The Orthodox Union deeply appreciates the assistance our community will receive to keep our members safe. In addition to DHS staff and the administration, we are grateful to the Members of Congress who pressed for this program, even in a difficult budget year, and in particular, to Senators Mikulski, Specter, Schumer, and Gillibrand as well as Representatives Price, Cantor, Lowey, Serrano and Rogers.”

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. The headline is incorrect. While MANY of the orgs were Jewish, not all were. There were several secular institutions.