Synagogue Receives $75K Homeland Security Grant
The Fair Lawn Jewish Center/Congregation B'nai Israel seeks to upgrade various security features of its facility with the grant funding.
The Fair Lawn Jewish Center/Congregation B’nai Israel has received a Department of Homeland Security grant to perform a security upgrade at its facility, FLJC president Linda Ayes said Monday.
The synagogue, which had its sights set on the grant even before a string of anti-Semitic attacks hit Bergen County earlier this year, learned last week that its application for a DHS grant that provides security support to nonprofit organizations at high risk of a terrorist attack had been approved.
FLJC will receive a $75,000 chunk of the $780,000 allocated by the federal government to 13 New Jersey synagogues.
“We felt we needed better security around our building and certainly, in wake of [the recent local string of bias attacks], we knew we were on the right line.” Ayes said.
She said the lengthy grant application process asked synagogue leaders to list their security priorities for the facility and required building walkthroughs by local and county police to assess the facility’s security needs.
Ayes said the synagogue plans to use the grant money to install security cameras, better lighting and a swipe card system for entry to the building.
“We felt our facility wasn’t that secure at night,” she said. “It was very dark around our parking lot areas and easy for people trying to do graffiti or break in.”
The Fair Lawn Jewish Center has been victimized by graffiti in the past and received an anti-Semitic letter earlier this year, she said.
Cameras and better lighting, Ayes said, would hopefully help that situation.
At the behest of Fair Lawn police Sgt. Richard Schultz, who helped coordinate an interfaith security meeting for houses of worship back in February, three staff members from the synagogue also went through Community Emergency Response Team training earlier in the year.