By Gina Martinez
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) has announced Jewish facilities in Queens will be getting $450,000 in federal funds to improve security.
The funding is coming after a citywide increase in threats and attacks against Jewish schools, synagogues and organizations.
The funds are being allocated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which provides non-profit organizations with funding for security enhancements, Meng said.
For non-profits to qualify for NSGP funds they must face a high risk of a terrorist attack. The six facilities receiving the $75,000 in funding include the Jewish Institute of Queens, in Elmhurst; Bais Yaakov Academy of Queens, in Kew Gardens; Beth Gavriel Bukharian Congregation, in Forest Hills; Central Queens YM & YWHA, in Forest Hills; Queens Yeshiva Ketana, in Fresh Meadows; and the Temple Gates of Prayer, in Flushing.
“With anti-Semitic incidents on the rise, it is critical that Jewish institutions have appropriate resources to protect their properties, and this funding will go a long way towards helping these Queens facilities guard against threats and attacks,” Meng said. “The safety and security of students, organization members and congregation members must be the top priority of any school, organization or synagogue. I am pleased that our borough is receiving its fair share of these critical and very competitive federal grants.”
According to the congresswoman, funding from the grants can go towards physical barriers, gates, safety gear, surveillance equipment and other security measures. Meng, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, helped secure an increase in funding for the NSGP initiative, doubling the amount from $25 million in 2017 to $50 million for 2018.
In April, the NYPD announced there was a 55 percent spike in hate crimes in the city compared to that time last year. NYPD officials attributed the jump to a 94 percent rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes in particular. The 107th Precinct increased security during Passover in synagogues in Fresh Meadows. Since the beginning of 2017, at least 91 Jewish organizations across the country, including schools and Jewish community centers, have been the target of 116 bomb threats, 15 of which were made against Jewish locations in New York state.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart