Two weeks after 2021 concluded, a terrorist entered a Texas synagogue and held its rabbi and several congregants hostage until the rabbi, who credits security training, recognized an opportunity to act and flee with all hostages physically unharmed.
Years earlier, Jewish Federation in the Heart of NJ and our partners had become acutely aware of the need for enhanced security preparedness in our community and have, for approximately seven years, been sharing and providing a range of resources for organizations to improve it.
One way Jewish Federation helps agencies, synagogues, and organizations is assisting them in applying for — and implementing — government security grants. State and Federal Nonprofit Security Grant Programs (NSGPs), for example, provide funding for security systems, equipment, and personnel to nonprofit organizations at high risk of terrorist threats.
Congregation B'nai Israel is one of dozens of synagogues that have worked with Federation and our Director of Security Initiatives to assess their risk and fine tune security strategy, including applying for funding from the Federal NSGP.
“We take security seriously at CBI. Working with Federation on this year’s grant was truly a joint effort. With all the craziness of COVID in the midst of submission deadlines, the patience and assistance we received from Federation was remarkable,” said Emilie Kovit-Meyer, then Executive Director of the congregation. “Knowing there were other organizations needing Federation’s grant assistance at the same time, we never felt rushed or put off. This Federal funding will enable us to close any gaps we have, making our members more secure as antisemitism and hate are more prevalent in our area.”
In the last six years, Federation has helped bring over $9 million in such government security funding to synagogues, schools, agencies, cultural centers, and more.
In this time, Federation has augmented security grant support by advocating for increasing security funding at state and Federal levels, working with law enforcement and interfaith allies to monitor, report, investigate, and prevent threats, providing access to high-level security training, enhancing access to incident reporting, creating a community leaders’ alert system, and more.
On a daily basis, Federation helps Jewish organizations like Congregation B'nai Israel keep security awareness and preparedness a top priority. To learn more or get support, visit jewishheartnj.org/security.