BOSTON — Earlier this month, Governor Charlie Baker announced that the state will provide $1 million in funding to help Massachusetts houses of worship and other nonprofit groups enhance their security against hate crimes and terrorist attacks.
“Massachusetts is a welcoming community that embraces people of all faiths, and it’s important that people across the Commonwealth have the opportunity to come together with neighbors and worship without fear,” said Baker. “These funds will assist houses of worship and other community-based institutions across the state in preserving their safety from those who would do them harm.”
Over the last year, several Greater Boston synagogues have been the sites of anti-Semitic incidents.
“No American, no matter whom they pray to or where they gather, should be concerned for their safety in a house of worship,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “While it saddens me that these additional security measures are necessary, I am heartened to know we are making these investments today to better prepare our non-profit institutions and protect our residents. I hope to see the Commonwealth join together to fight back against the hate crimes, anti-religious acts and violent rhetoric that is spreading across the country. In the meantime, I’d like to thank my partners in the administration and the House for helping to make this funding a reality.”
“There has been an alarming uptick in racial and religious violence across the country – much of it shamefully directed at Jews in the form of anti-Semitic attacks,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I was proud to work with my colleagues in the House, Senate President Spilka and Governor Baker to provide sadly-needed security funds. Massachusetts stands united against hatred.”
“As acts of aggression and hate have touched so many of our communities in recent months, these grants have become absolutely vital,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport). “I am proud of the Legislature’s commitment to providing this vital funding and thank the administration for doing what it can to ensure our places of worship and community centers that are at-risk to violent threats are safe and secure.”
Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito were joined by a broad coalition of advocates and religious leaders at the event, including Jewish Community Relations Council Executive Director Jeremy Burton, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston President and CEO Marc Baker, Reverend David Wright of the Black Ministerial Alliance, Jewish Federation of Central Mass Executive Director Steven Schimmel, Rabbi Elaine Zecher of Temple Israel Boston, Rabbi Dan Slipakoff of Temple Israel Boston, JCC Greater Boston Executive Director Mark Sokoll, Rabbi Laura Abrasley of Temple Shalom, Newton, and Rav Claudia Kreimen of Temple Beth Zion, Brookline.
“The sobering reality is that violent anti-Semitism has come roaring back. We are gratified that our highest elected officials, the leaders of faith communities, and philanthropists who are leading the way in building the welfare of our civil society, are working to push anti-Semitism and other forms of hate back into the closets from which it has reemerged,” said Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
The Commonwealth Nonprofit Safety Grant Program is overseen by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Office of Grants and Research and helps recipients acquire and install technology, equipment, and other resources to safeguard them from acts of violence. Funding is prioritized for applicants demonstrating the greatest need and cost-effective solutions to address their building safety and security.
“The modern public safety landscape means that we have to consider threats that once would have been unthinkable,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Thomas Turco.
To apply for a 2020 Commonwealth Nonprofit Safety Grant, visit mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-a-commonwealth-nonprofit-security-grant.