Less than a year after murderous anti-Semites struck in a kosher grocery store in Jersey City and a rabbi’s house in Monsey, a new round of federal Homeland Security grants is bringing more than $3 million to Jewish institutions in North Jersey and Rockland County to fund security upgrades.
This is part of $90 million in grants announced last month by the Department of Homeland Security to toughen non-profit targets threatened by terrorism — a category that largely has meant Jewish institutions.
Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY 17) is retiring from Congress, where she headed the House Appropriations Committee. In that capacity she led the legislative battle for the grant program. Under her leadership, the House has allocated $360 million for the program next year, quadrupling its size.
The homeland security grants originally targeted only urban areas. That included North Jersey but excluded Rockland. Ms. Lowey pushed to expand the non-urban component of the program, and last year she helped quadruple it to $40 million. That amount was almost as large as the $50 million for the urban program.
The Rockland recipients, nearly all of whom received $100,000, were all Jewish organizations. They include Beth Medrash Ohr Chaim and Chai Lifeline of Monsey; Chabad Jewish Center of Suffern in Montebello; Adolph Schreiber Hebrew Academy in New City; Congregation Yeshiva Avir Yakov in New Square; the National Ramah Commission office in Nyack; the Orangetown Jewish Center in Orangeburg; Ateres Bais Yaakov Academy, Cheder Chabad, Hebrew Academy for Special Children, and Yeshiva of Greater Monsey, all in Spring Valley; and the Rockland JCC in West Nyack.
“This has been a very difficult year for JCC Rockland, which received a $100,000 grant in 2018, the first year of the program Lowey established,” David A. Kirschtel, the CEO of JCC Rockland, said. “Security has remained a very major issue for us, and with the pandemic we have been challenged. We are grateful to Congresswoman Lowey, who has stood with our community, and specifically with JCC Rockland, over the years.”
The Jewish institutions funded in North Jersey mostly received grants of $100,000, the maximum allowed. These institutions include Bais Medrash of Bergenfield; Temple Beth Sholom in Fair Lawn; Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah; Yeshiva of North Jersey in River Edge; Chabad of the Meadowlands in Rutherford; Congregations Beth Sholom, Keter Torah, Shaarei Orah, and Shaare Tefillah, all in Teaneck, and Valley Chabad in Woodcliff Lake.
Four non-Jewish organizations in Bergen County received grants: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Englewood, the Boys and Girls Club of Lodi, Saint Elizabeth’s Church in Ridgewood, and Christian Health Care Center in Wyckoff, a non-profit senior care and mental health facility.
“The freedoms to worship as we choose — and to educate ourselves — are at the bedrock of the American idea and protecting that is absolutely critical,” Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-5 NY) said. “We know that this investment we’re announcing — $1.2 million in federal dollars clawed back here to the Fifth District — will help all these organizations protect their congregations, their students, and the community members they serve.”
“New Jersey received over $9.5 million, the second largest for any state, because we’ve fought every day to get the funds we need,” Representative Bill Pascrell (D-NJ 9) said. “This massive federal investment in New Jersey will help safeguard our nonprofit institutions amid the recent spike in hatred, bigotry, and anti-Semitism. These awards will improve the safety of nonprofits and go a long way towards giving peace of mind to those across our state.”