Officials announce federal funding to protect New Jersey houses of worship

Representative Tom Malinowski, Senator Cory Booker and state Attorney General Matthew Platkin.

Representative Tom Malinowski, Senator Cory Booker, and Attorney General Matthew Platkin joined faith leaders from around the community to announce over $1.4 million in federal funding to protect houses of worship in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District against terrorist attacks and hate crimes. 

According to the FBI, the number of hate crimes in 2020 was a 12-year high, and according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in 2021, including harassment, assault, and vandalism against Jewish persons and synagogues, was the highest in 42 years. 

Through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), faith institutions throughout the community will receive support to prevent, protect against, and recover from terrorist attacks, including by installing physical security improvements, implementing emergency readiness programs, and improving community safety.

This funding was championed by Malinowski in the Fiscal Year 2022 federal budget.

“No person should fear violence because of who they are or who they worship,” said Malinowski. “This crucial funding will bring peace of mind for thousands of residents in my district and help preserve the religious freedoms we hold dear.”

The group held a roundtable at Temple Sinai in Summit to discuss the rise in threats facing the Jewish community and the action Congress is taking to fight antisemitism and white supremacy.

The following institutions were the recipients of this year’s NSGP in the 7th District:

  • Temple Sinai – Summit, NJ – $150,000
  • Chabad Jewish Center of Mt. Olive – Mount Olive, NJ – $150,000
  • Congregation Beth Hatikvah, Inc. – Summit, NJ – $131,500
  • Congregation Zichron Lema Kollel Bais Yechzkel – Union, NJ – $150,000
  • Flemington Jewish Community Center – Flemington, NJ – $150,000
  • Holy Trinity Interparochial School – Westfield, NJ – $150,000
  • Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church – Westfield, NJ – $150,000
  • Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael – Springfield – $150,000
  • Temple Beth El, Westfield-Cranford – Cranford, NJ – $149,250
  • Temple B’nai Jeshurun – Millburn, NJ – $137,000

“No person should fear violence because of who they are or who they worship,” said Malinowski. “This crucial funding will bring peace of mind for thousands of residents in my district and help preserve the religious freedoms we hold dear.”

“We cannot ignore the disturbing rise in bias incidents and hate crimes, nor can we tolerate threats to any religious or cultural community,” said Booker. “These nonprofit security grants will help protect communities across New Jersey against dangerous hate-filled attacks. This investment in our at-risk institutions will help protect millions of New Jerseyans.”

“Hate and bias have no place in our State, and we will always stand up against anti-Semitism and other forms of religious hatred.  I’m proud to work with Governor Murphy, Senator Booker, Congressman Malinowski, and our federal partners to ensure that our faith communities have the resources they need to remain safe,” said Platkin, who invited residents to take advantage of the application period for both Security Personnel and Target Hardening Equipment, which will close Monday, October 31, 2022, at 11:59 PM.

“We are very honored to host this event and be able to receive this grant. This grant helps push more opportunities to protect our members and our children. The support will go a long way towards the safety of our institution,” said Cindy Homer, President of Temple Sinai.

Earlier this week, the House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing in Teaneck, NJ on confronting extremism, terrorism, and antisemitism in the state.

Since his first days in office, Malinowski has been a leading voice in Congress in the fight against white supremacist violence, antisemitism, and other forms of domestic extremism.

He introduced the bipartisan Bombing Prevention Act, which passed the House this May. The bill enhances our government’s ability to protect against bomb threats and attacks at schools, houses of worship, and other locations. 

Malinowski led the House in passing a resolution condemning the antisemitic QAnon movement and he is the author of the Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act, legislation to hold large social media platforms accountable for their algorithmic amplification of harmful, radicalizing content that leads to offline violence. 

At Malinowski’s request, the 2021 federal budget provided over $35 million for Department of Homeland Security Programs to prevent domestic terrorism, including the Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) grants.

Malinowski led the effort to restore funding the Trump administration cut for this program in 2019, and championed additional funds this year, securing an increase of $21 million above FY20.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced earlier this year, allocations for more than $2 billion to help prepare our nation against man-made threats and natural disasters.

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