Saturday, April 01, 2023

Since the terrorist attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, Jewish organizations have urged Congress to double the budget.

The new federal omnibus bill includes $305 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, a significant increase from the current year’s $250 million.

The NSGP has been a major agenda item for many Jewish organizations. Since the terrorist attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, Jewish organizations have urged Congress to double its budget. The program permits houses of worship and other threatened nonprofits to apply for grants of up to $150,000 each.

The money can be used for security measures such as fences, cameras, more secure doors and hiring of personnel. The bill would establish a dedicated NSGP office at the Department of Homeland Security, provide support mechanisms to eligible nonprofit organizations and simplify and streamline the application process. It would also increase congressional oversight of the program.

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, or Orthodox Union (OU) welcomed the new bill.

Orthodox Union Executive Director for Public Policy Nathan Diament said in a statement: “We are grateful to Sen. Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other key leaders for working with us to increase funding for the NSGP from $250 million in 2022 to $305 million in 2023.”

“The increased funding will help Jewish communities protect their facilities and members from increasing antisemitic violence. We will never stop working and fighting to make sure Jewish families can practice their faith openly and safely.”

Orthodox Union President Moshe Bane stated, “Last week, we convened an urgent meeting of community leaders and policymakers in New York City to discuss responding to the surge in antisemitism. A concrete step that was discussed was boosting NSGP funding to $305 million. We are grateful that step has been taken this week in the Omnibus.”

SVP of Public Affairs at Jewish Federations of North America Elana Broitman said in a statement that the Federations are grateful to the “bipartisan Congressional champions who helped advance the significant funding increase for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, up from the $250 million passed in last year’s budget and the highest level to date in the history of the program.”

“Together with improvements to the program in the recently passed NDAA, this is a historic acknowledgement by government leaders of the critical need for this program,” she added. “We are disappointed that the program will be funded below the $360 million, the minimum necessary to meet rising security needs for Jewish and other faith communities as antisemitic incidents and violent domestic extremism are on the rise. Jewish Federations will continue to advocate for continued increases for this program next year, to ensure the safety and security of every Jewish and faith community.”

By Omri Nahmias/JPost.com and combined sources

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