Synagogues & other places of worship have been target of attacks over past several years
Congressman Brian Higgins announced federal grant funding totaling $300,000 awarded to Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo and Temple Beth-El in Niagara Falls. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and awarded through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), the grants will support security enhancements at nonprofit organizations that are at a high risk for terrorist attacks.
“Over the past few years, attacks against houses of worship of a variety of faiths are on the rise,” Higgins said. “They are being targeted by terrorists domestic and foreign who commit hateful acts such as mass shootings, vandalism, arson and other types of property damage. No one should fear for their safety while exercising their religious freedoms. Federal funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will provide local faith organizations with the resources necessary to help congregants feel safe practicing their faith in the Western New York Community.”
Higgins’ team said, “According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2020, 24% of hate crimes reported were committed based on religious biases, and 12% were committed against the Jewish faith.”
This year, the DHS program is providing $250,150,000 to support facilitywide and physical security upgrades at nonprofit organizations, such as faith organizations, at a high risk for a terrorist attack. Through the grant program, DHS will assist nonprofits in obtaining resources to support and integrate preparedness activities in coordination with broader state and local security efforts. It is designed to promote collaboration in emergency preparedness between public and private community representatives, as well as state and local government agencies.
This year, New York state received $7,617,874 through the NSGP.
Temple Beth Zion will receive $150,000. Founded in 1850, Temple Beth Zion is one of the oldest and largest reform congregations in the U.S., and strives to remain an all-inclusive temple community.
Temple Beth-El also will receive $150,000. It is a reform synagogue serving Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Southern Ontario. Temple Beth-El is one of the oldest, continuously used Jewish houses of worship in the U.S.