Many Jewish centers across New York State are upping their security, following the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“It’s been a devastating week just coming to terms with what happened,” said Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein of Congregation Shir Shalom.
What’s also difficult for Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein, is the need for more security in religious centers.
“That’s not something that I want to have on my mind when I’m leading services and it’s not something I want my congregants to be thinking of at all,” said Rabbi Alex.
Rabbi Alex says security and safety is all anyone can think about, following the deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last week. He says there was extra security during religious school hours and his congregation services all week.
“We’ve already changed a lot of our security protocols in the way that we’re able to do,” said Rabbi Alex.
Now there’s state funding to help pay for more security upgrades. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $10 million dollars in grants in hopes of preventing hate crimes or attacks at non-public schools, cultural centers and religious-based institutions.
The money will help pay for security training, cameras, state-of-the-art technology, improved lighting and any other security needs.
Cuomo stressed the need to protect centers statewide in a statement saying:
“Hate crimes have no place in New York and this funding will help those who are targeted due to their ideology, beliefs, or mission to take additional steps to increase the security of their facilities and keep our communities safe.”
“I think though it’s beyond that, it’s trying to deal with the situation before it occurs and that means being a lot more aware of what you’re seeing on social media,” said Larry Rubin of Jewish Family Services of Buffalo and Erie County.
Rabbi Alex says it’s necessary to calm any fears among the congregation.
“We want to make sure that they do have a peace of mind,” said Rabbi Alex.
Organizations with more than one facility can submit up to three applications for a total of $150,000. Applications for the state grant are due December 19th.