Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rep Weiner Announces Security Funds for Jewish Groups

Just weeks after planned attacks on two Bronx synagogues were thwarted, several Queens lawmakers announced that five high-risk non-profit religious groups in the borough will receive federal Homeland Security funds.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) was joined by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) and City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) on Tuesday to announce the grants. Five local Jewish institutions – the Israel Center of Conservative Judaism of Kew Gardens Hills, the Jewish Institute of Queens in Rego Park, Far Rockaway’s Beis Medrash Heichal Dovid, the Hillcrest Jewish Center and Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care in New Hyde Park – will receive a total of $307,050.

Citywide, 61 institutions around the city will receive a total of $4.1 million from the Department of Homeland Security. The city will receive approximately three times more than the amount give to any other locality nationwide. In total, New York State will receive $4.6 million.

In May, federal authorities working with the NYPD arrested four men who were allegedly planning to bomb the Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Center in the Bronx. The men were also planning to attack military planes at an upstate Air National Guard Base, according to authorities.

The grants are being made available through the Urban Area Security Initiative grant program and will provide significant funding for security measures at the very institutions being singled out as potential targets – including hospitals, synagogues and universities. Since the program began in 2005, more than 200 New York City nonprofits received nearly $17 million in funding.

Institutions that qualified for the current grant program were eligible to receive up to $75,000 that can be used to train security personnel and install security measures should as cameras, barriers and controlled entry systems.

“As the planned attacks in the Bronx highlight, nonprofit and religious institutions are at risk and need protection,” said Rep. Weiner. “Worshippers, museum goers and hospital visitors expect and deserve a safe environment, and these grants will go a long way towards ensuring their safety.”

“Congressman Weiner’s commitment to protecting our community is an example the state should emulate,” said Assemblyman Lancman. The millions of New Yorkers who benefit from our non-profits deserve the state’s maximum efforts at keeping them safe.”

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