State awards grants to shuls, day schools to boost security

State awards grants to shuls, day schools to boost security

The Christie administration announced that 27 New Jersey nonprofit organizations, the vast majority of them synagogues, yeshivot, and day schools, will share more than $1.8 million in federal grant funds to improve their security.

The grants of up to $75,000 were announced Oct. 13 and are part of the 2011 Urban Area Security Initiative Nonprofit Security Grant Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

Among the institutions receiving the grants are Congregation Ohr Torah, Edison, $75,000, and Temple Emanu-El, Edison, $75,000.

The federal department awarded almost $19 million to 269 nonprofits nationally, with New Jersey ranking fifth both in number of recipients and grant total.

The state graded the institutions using federal guidelines, but the final decision was made by the federal agency. Criteria for the grant included the institution’s being recognized as a potential terrorist target or having potential vulnerabilities to attack.

The grants are to be used for “target hardening,” such as the purchase and installation of security equipment and security training for staff.

Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County executive director Gerrie Bamira said her organization “applauds Gov. Christie’s administration for being sensitive to the needs of the Middlesex Jewish community.”

“Ensuring that nonprofit organizations that are deemed high-risk have the resources needed to improve their physical security and increase their resiliency is an important part of our statewide strategy,” said Charles B. McKenna, director of the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, in a prepared statement. “Under this grant program, these 27 nonprofit organizations will be able to enhance their prevention, response, and recovery capabilities to be better protected in the event of a terrorist attack.”

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