The new spike in hate crimes in our nation and around the world has some at Congregation Beth Abraham, living a new normal, and that means a need for more funding to keep places of worship safe.

The massacre of 50 muslim worshipers in New Zealand and the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting that left nearly a dozen dead, sparked local fears of potential hate crimes and anti-semitic acts.

“These are houses of worship,” said Irwin Gelman, cantor at Congregation Beth Abraham.

“We don’t think of these things as places where there has to be an armed guard, or people who come with guns and holsters, because we’re praying, we’re trying to do the thing that’s almost purely anti-violence.”

Senator Tim Kennedy announced that new funding in the amount of 100 thousand dollars is heading to the Buffalo Federation’s Secure Jewish Buffalo Fund.  The funds will go towards the installation of cameras, lights and crisis training and active shooter training for staff.

“We’re past the point of where these types of attacks are hypothetical, statistical anomaly. Sadly and unfortunately,” said Kennedy. “And that’s why we need to stand up and fight back as a community. And that’s what this funding is going to go toward today.”

According to the most recent FBI figures there were 1,749 victims of anti-religious hate crimes in 2017 and 58 percent were directed at people of the Jewish faith.