State officials promise concern, not funds, for Jewish security
EXECUTIVES OF THE state’s Jewish Federations received assurances from New Jersey’s top law enforcement official that troops would increase cooperation to keep Jewish agencies safe from attack.
But their June 14 meeting in the Trenton office of State Attorney General Christopher Porrino failed to assure any additional security grants for Jewish organizations from the state budget.
“He told us there are no guarantees but we should make our approach to the governor with our community’s support,” said Jacob Toporek, executive director of the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations.
Toporek told NJJN, “Our purpose was not so much to ask for the money. Our concern was also the practicalities of receiving communications from state and local police. He reinforced that he would be helpful as much as he could and be supportive, but money is not something that he can directly help with.”
Porrino did assure the leaders of close communications with the county prosecutors, and he said that law enforcement officers would receive additional sensitivity training in regard to religious and ethnic communities.
After the meeting, federation officials praised Porrino and two other key security officials, State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes and Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Deputy Director Steve Gutkin.
“We’re deeply appreciative of the collaboration and support we receive from our local and state law enforcement,” said Dov Ben-Shimon, executive vice president/CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. “We are also mindful of the increased need for coordination, dialogue, and collaboration and, therefore, I was grateful to meet with General Porrino and key security officers.”
Gordon Haas, president of the State Association, said that the opportunity to voice concern about a rise in anti-Semitic incidents and receiving “assurances of support and collaboration with federation from the state’s chief law enforcement officer goes a long way in addressing the apprehension we feel.”
Gutkin said New Jersey is committed to ensuring that members of religious institutions can worship safely and securely.
He said, “We take all threats very seriously and encourage the public to report suspicious activity to us by calling 1-866-4SAFE-NJ or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.” — NJJN