POLITICS

New York Governor Pledges $45 Million To Protect Religious Facilities From Hate

The funding will help religious schools and community centers pay for security training, cameras and other upgrades.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Sunday that New York state has allocated $45 million to protect faith-based institutions, including private schools and cultural centers, against hate crimes.

Cuomo announced the funding at an interfaith solidarity march across Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday, following a flurry of anti-Semitic violence that erupted in New York before and during Hanukkah.

The funds will be distributed to religious institutions through a state grant program that Cuomo established in 2017 to boost security at nonprofit schools, day care centers, community centers, museums, and residential camps that are vulnerable to hate-fueled attacks because of their “ideology, beliefs, or mission.” The grants give each eligible facility up to $50,000 for security training, cameras, better lighting, door hardening and other related upgrades. Since the program’s creation, more than 500 projects have been supported by $25 million in state funding, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

Cuomo also announced the creation of a state telephone and text hotline for people to call if they experience discrimination: 1-877-NO-HATE-NY.

“Everyone today says the same thing: No hate in our state, period,” Cuomo said on Sunday. “We won’t tolerate it, we condemn it, we stand united against it and we are going to act against it.” 

New York's top elected officials march across the Brooklyn Bridge during a Jewish solidarity march on Jan. 5, 2020.
New York's top elected officials march across the Brooklyn Bridge during a Jewish solidarity march on Jan. 5, 2020.

It’s not clear that this is new money, however. New York state assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein (D), a Hasidic lawmaker from Brooklyn, tweeted on Sunday evening that the same $45 million was already approved in the state budget adopted last spring. He requested additional funding.

HuffPost has reached out to Cuomo’s team for comment.

Sunday’s interfaith march was an organized response to a spate of anti-Semitic attacks that broke out in New York and New Jersey in recent weeks.

Last month, a man wielding a machete burst into a Hasidic rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, during a Hanukkah celebration, leaving six people with serious injuries. The suspect is facing state charges of attempted murder and federal charges for hate crimes.

Earlier in December, an anti-Semitic attack in Jersey City, New Jersey ― which lies directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan ― left four victims dead. 

In addition, Hasidic Jews, who belong to a branch of Orthodox Judaism, have faced numerous physical assaults in Brooklyn in recent months. A flurry of attacks over Hanukkah highlighted the harassment ― people were punched, slapped and subjected to anti-Semitic slurs while walking through their neighborhoods.

Reports of anti-Semitic hate crimes increased by 18% percent in New York City last year, according to police data obtained by The New York Times.

Cuomo said Sunday that state police will continue to maintain an increased presence in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods across the state. 

Thousands walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on Jan. 5, 2020, during a march protesting anti-Semitic hate crimes.
Thousands walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on Jan. 5, 2020, during a march protesting anti-Semitic hate crimes.

Thousands of people gathered in Manhattan’s Foley Square to begin Sunday’s protest march, including such high-profile New York politicians as U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D). The march, which was organized by the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish groups, proceeded across the Brooklyn Bridge, with participants chanting, “No hate, no fear.”

Speaking at Sunday’s rally, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said the rise in anti-Semitic violence across the country over the last few years is “terrifying.” 

No matter what denomination of Judaism someone belongs to, he said, “we are all part of the same Jewish family and an attack on one Jew is an attack on all Jews.”

HuffPost

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