(April 30, 2019 / JNS) In the aftermath of Saturday’s shooting at the Chabad of Poway in Southern California, the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, pledged $15 million for the State Nonprofit Security Grant Program in the state budget.
The program provides unprecedented funding for security grants for nonpublic schools, places of worship and other nonprofit institutions. The program will provide up to $200,000 per recipient and will for the first time allow for security personnel funding for nonprofits at risk of bias crimes or attacks due to their ideology, beliefs or mission.
Last year, just $500,000 was allocated for the program.
“In light of the senseless act of anti-Semitic violence at the Chabad of Poway synagogue, a strong response was necessary by the government of California to ensure that people of all faiths feel safe in their community institutions,” said Orthodox Union executive vice president Allen Fagin. “Today, the Jewish Caucus and Governor Newsom have shown their commitment to the safety and security of all Californians, including those most at risk of bias or hate crimes.”
The rabbi at Chabad of Poway, Yisroel Goldstein, who lost his right index finger in the attack, told TIME that the synagogue could not raise enough funding to hire armed personnel.
“Most of our elderly members are dying out. The younger members are not joining, so financially we don’t have a budget to pay for security guards,” he said. “If funds were made available for houses of worship, that could have made a difference.”