Following the horrific events this past Friday in Paris, France, the latest in a spate of terror attacks on Jewish targets throughout the world, Agudath Israel of America is focusing on heightened security for our yeshivos, shuls and other mosdos.
On Monday, the executive staff of Agudath Israel met with many of the organization’s regional directors across the country. They addressed two aspects of security: obtaining additional government funds for this purpose as well as providing yeshivos and other mosdos with hands-on practical steps they can take to help secure their facilities.
Today Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudath Israel’s Vice-President for Federal Affairs and Washington Director, issued a legislative alert to all yeshivos and contacts across the country calling on members of our community to contact their legislative representatives in Washington to increase the level of funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to a minimum of $25 million.
Similar efforts to increase government funding for security in our yeshivos are being made in local jurisdictions around the country. For example, Agudath Israel has asked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to include additional funding for this purpose in his executive budget. And, in New York City, Agudath Israel is working with members of the New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio to enhance security in nonpublic schools.
Tonight, at a meeting of Agudath Israel’s National Officers and Vaad Hanhala, presentations will be made by NYPD Chief of Department James P. O’Neill, NYPD Chief of Community Affairs Joanne Jaffe, as well as members of the NYPD Counter-Terrorism Bureau, who will provide updates on the current threat assessments facing New York City in general and the Jewish community in particular.
In addition, Agudath Israel’s Yeshiva Services Division is planning to hold a security workshop for yeshivos in New York City within the next few weeks.
Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudath Israel’s executive vice president, said, “Im Hashem lo yishmor ir shav shakad shomer,” Dovid Hamelech reminds us that if Hashem is not watching over the city then the guard is wasting his time. But the fact that our ultimate protection comes from Hashem does not absolve us of the responsibility of making our hishtadlus to enhance security for our yeshivos, shuls, mosdos and members of our community. We at Agudath Israel will do all in our ability to make this happen.”