State grants more than $500,000 to local religious nonprofits for security
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SecurityResponse to Oct. 27 attack

State grants more than $500,000 to local religious nonprofits for security

Several Pittsburgh-based Jewish institutions are receiving funds

Following the Oct. 27, 2018, shooting flowers were placed outside of the Tree of Life building. (Photo by Adam Reinherz)
Following the Oct. 27, 2018, shooting flowers were placed outside of the Tree of Life building. (Photo by Adam Reinherz)

This article was updated on April 25, 2022, to add two additional grantees that had been omitted from the initial list: Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Congregation and Chabad Lubavitch of South Hills, Inc.


Pennsylvania awarded more than $500,000 to a dozen local religious nonprofits to bolster their security, State Rep. Dan Frankel and Sen. Jay Costa announced on April 14.

Local grantees are: Chabad of Carnegie Mellon University; Jewish Residential Services; Chabad of Squirrel Hill; Yeshivath Achei Tmimim of Pittsburgh; Lubavitch Center; Congregation Dor Hadash; Hillel Jewish University Center; Chabad Young Professionals; First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh; Rodef Shalom Congregation; Tzohar Seminary; Temple Sinai; Beth Hamedrash Hagodol-Beth Jacob Congregation; and Chabad Lubavitch of South Hills, Inc.

“Our houses of faith are integral to a vibrant, diverse and loving Pittsburgh community,” Frankel said in a prepared statement. “With this funding, the state of Pennsylvania acknowledges both the vital role that these organizations play and the dangers of today’s world. These places are the centers of their communities, places of peace, of hope, of friendship. No one should ever have to be afraid to step through their doors.”

Across Allegheny County, more than 20 religious nonprofits were awarded grants totaling more than $1.1 million, according to a press release from Frankel’s office. The grants were made possible by a bipartisan agreement to extend Act 83 of 2019, “legislation championed by both lawmakers in the wake of the Squirrel Hill synagogue attack in 2018, using funding from the American Rescue Plan. This is the third year grants from the program have been disbursed,” the press release said.

“This community knows all too well the violence and devastation of hate crimes, and it’s a top priority of mine in the legislature to prevent those crimes,” Costa said in a prepared statement. “While I’m happy to announce today’s grants with Representative Frankel, I would be remiss if I did not also mention that we have introduced legislation that would empower law enforcement with additional tools to track hate groups and prevent violence. We await hearings in the state legislature on those bills.”

Grant recipients can use the funds for security enhancements to protect the safety of the users of their facilities, including safety and security planning, purchase of security equipment, and safety and security training.

“Priority for funding was given to organizations that indicated their organization and/or membership was the victim of a hate crime, that received credible hate-crime threats, or that serves a population susceptible to hate crimes, which includes people of certain race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender and gender identity,” the press release said. PJC

Toby Tabachnick

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