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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.

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 , 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 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  for houses of worship back in February, three staff members from the synagogue also went through earlier in the year.

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MC61249 July 17, 2012 at 01:12 PM
So now my tax dollars are going to provide security for synagogues? What about Mosques and churches? Why just synagogues? Ed is right about separation of church and state when does this end?
es July 17, 2012 at 01:32 PM
While the Homeland Security grants are open to any 501(c)(3) organization that is deemed to be at a security risk, how many churches and mosques in New Jersey have been firebombed in the past few years?
Stuart Pace July 17, 2012 at 01:47 PM
exactly es. Synogagues have been targeted recently. I think its great that they are being proactive. Too many nutjobs out there.
tacitus July 17, 2012 at 02:21 PM
this grant was for non-profit's deemed to be considered a terrorist target regardless of religious affiliation.
rl July 17, 2012 at 03:50 PM
This funding stream was created about 3-5 years ago and I think sponsored by Congressman Wiener (I know he was part of the conception of the program)- the concept is that while the religious activities can not be sponsored by the State the State can help support things that are not focused on religious practice...ie security. The funds allocated to NJ most likely went to Synagogues because of the recent issues. However, the funding is open to ANY religious 501 (c)3 organization. If I am correct this funding is for religious organizations only. Other similar funds are available for non denominational 501 (c) 3 not for profits. Also- as a side note... technically the constitution only gives us the right to not have a national religion imposed upon us, and that we have the right to exercise our own religion. So while supporting a religion publicly is an inferred no no if you base your opinion about separation of church and state on the strict interpretation of the first amendment your going to have a hard time arguing that security measures can not be paid by government funds. "Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

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