New York state to offer $500,000 to Five Towns yeshivas and centers

Originally published in Long Island Herald

New York state will provide more than $2 million to Long Island religious schools and centers for safety improvements because of the recent spike in hate crimes and bias incidents across the metropolitan area. Five Towns schools and centers — organizations that are not schools — are expected to get $500,000.

As part of New York’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant Program, the upgrades should strengthen security measures to prevent hate crimes or attacks against facilities on the basis of their culture, religion or beliefs. The schools or centers will have spend the money and then be reimbursed. Which schools or centers are receiving was not released or how much each is receiving.

“With this grant, we’ll be able to better protect our Jewish communities and combat the rapid rise of hate crimes and anti-Semitism that has permeated into our neighborhoods,” State Sen. Senator Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) said in a news release. “I’m thankful to Governor Cuomo for his commitment to this project and for ensuring its continued growth.”

Hate crime statistics have shown a rapid increase in incidents against the Jewish community. Nearly half of all hate crimes reported in New York have been against the Jewish community.

On Dec. 8 in the North Lawrence Costco, three Jewish people, including a rabbi and an 11-year-old child were allegedly physically threatened and verbally attacked by Queens resident Justin Pichizaca. Recently there have multiple incidents of swastikas in Glen Cover and the Dec. 10 Jersey City shooting, where a Jersey City police officer was killed, had a Catholic school and a yeshiva facing gunfire.

“The cancer of hate and division spreading across this country is repugnant to the values of diversity and inclusion we hold dear in New York,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in the same release. “We are continuing to do everything we can to stamp out threats and acts of violence targeting religious and cultural institutions, and this new grant funding will allow many of these organizations to enhance their security measures and help keep people safe.”