Posted in News, on September 15, 2011

Jewish Groups Receive Bulk of Antiterror Grants

Jewish charities receive nearly three-quarters of grants handed out by the Department of Homeland Security to help nonprofit organizations defend themselves from terrorist attacks, according to The Forward, a newspaper that covers Jewish issues.

A review by the newspaper found that from 2007 to 2010, 73.7 percent of the 995 awards from the Nonprofit Security Grant Program went to synagogues, day schools, and other Jewish organizations, nearly half of them Orthodox, to provide surveillance systems, blast-proof doors, and other security measures.

The program, started in 2005, has provided $118-million to nonprofit groups to strengthen their emergency preparedness. Several Jewish groups, including the United Jewish Communities (now the Jewish Federations of North America) and the Orthodox Union, lobbied for the program’s creation.

Some Jewish leaders have criticized the program. Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center, said the security grants violate the constitutional separation of church and state. The center urges synagogues to seek money for security improvements from congregation members and local Jewish organizations.

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