Jewish groups pleased with Biden budget that boosts funding for security grants


Jacob Kornbluh, The Forward

Jewish American groups are gratified to see that President Joe Biden’s budget proposal would dramatically increase funding for grants to enhance security at nonprofit organizations in the fiscal 2023 budget he submitted to Congress on Monday.

In the past, much of that funding has gone to protect synagogues and other Jewish institutions.

Biden’s federal budget resolution includes $360 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, a number advocated for by major Jewish groups and supported by congressional leaders.

Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Orthodox Union, called it a “very important starting point” in the monthslong process that will eventually lead to the next federal budget. The federal fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, but Congress often takes longer to pass a budget.

The Jewish Federations of North America said they were “extraordinarily grateful” for the support the administration is demonstrating to communities who are vulnerable to attacks.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program, established by Congress in 2005, offers nonprofit organizations, including houses of worship and other religious institutions, financial support to help protect themselves from attacks. Congress increased the appropriation from $60 million in 2018 to $180 million in 2021. In the omnibus appropriations package that passed earlier this month, funding was increased to $250 million.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer initially announced his support to increase funding to $360 million following a number of violent antisemitic attacks in New York and New Jersey in 2019. He renewed his push for the dollars following the hostage-taking at a Texas synagogue in January.

The president’s request “significantly strengthens our position in advocating for that to Congress,” Diament said.

Relatedly, the Jewish Federations recently announced they have raised $62 million for an initiative, called LiveSecure, to provide security resources and training for Jewish communities across the nation.