Letter Urges State support of Non Profit Security Grants

JCRC works with our public officials to create partnerships for safety and security enhancements at vulnerable non-profit institutions. With the alarming rise in threats and violence against the Jewish community, it’s clear that more is needed. JCRC launched a community wide campaign to fully fund a grant program to help synagogues, day schools, community centers, and other targeted institutions to make vital security enhancements. We stand with our partners of every faith and creed to denounce hatred and demand justice.

JCRC organized a letter, signed by 143 Jewish institutional leaders from across the Commonwealth, to Governor Baker asking for full funding of the state Non-Profit Security Grant program.

Click here for the PDF of the Letter

Below is the text of the letter:

May 20, 2019

Dear Governor Baker:

While celebrating the end of Passover, the celebration of the Jewish people’s liberation, we were confronted yet again with the horror of another murderous attack on a Jewish synagogue in Poway, California, six months to the day of the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The sanctity of our houses of worship has been pierced by the horror of antisemitism and our sense of security is in peril.

While we are grateful to our partners in government for denouncing violence, hatred, and antisemitism and offering comfort and offering healing in our time of need, our communities require more. Across the country, threats and acts of violence have escalated against synagogues, black churches, mosques, cultural centers and other religious institutions. Seemingly every week, we join with clergy and leaders from every walk of life, decrying the bloodshed and pleading for sanity, and a restoration to calm. But antisemitism is on the rise, even here. A recent ADL audit found that “people across Massachusetts continue to experience antisemitism at historically high rates" as we record the fourth highest number of incidents (following California, New York and New Jersey), highlighting the awareness that this tide of hatred toward Jews isn’t dissipating anytime soon.

Several states reacted swiftly, by partnering with at-risk institutions to develop security enhancements and protocols, including: The State of New York offered $10 million in grants to vulnerable non-public schools and cultural centers, including religious-based institutions; New Jersey released $11.3 million in funds; Maryland released $5 million; and recently the Governor of California announced $15 million in grants.  Massachusetts, however only has a pilot program of $150,000, with no funds yet allocated for the next year. We need to do better.

We respectfully ask our leadership in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to step-up and fulfill its basic obligation by fully funding the non-profit security grant program to provide these critical resources to ensure that our communities and our congregations are safe and secure. As faith communities meet our responsibility to welcome and embrace all who enter our doors, we need our government to realize its responsibility to offer the protection to make “freedom of religion” a reality in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts basks in its well-deserved reputation as a shining beacon, a model across the nation of freedom, equality and justice.  In this moment of crisis for our community, we are called once again to lead and not follow.


Jeremy Burton, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council, Boston

Rabbi Marc Baker, President & CEO, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston

Dara Kaufman, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Pittsfield

Judy Usow, President & Board Chair, Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Pittsfield

Steven Schimmel, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Central MA, Worcester

Amir Cohen, Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford, New Bedford

Laurie Tishler Mindlin, Executive Director, Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation, Andover

Stewart Bromberg, CEO, Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Springfield

Joshua Vogel, Communications Director, Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, Springfield

Mark Sokoll, President & CEO, Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston, Newton

Kait Rogers, Chief Finance and Admin. Officer, Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston, Newton

Marty Schneer, Executive Director, Jewish Community Center of the North Shore, Marblehead

Michael Paysnick, Executive Director, Springfield Jewish Community Center, Springfield

Rabbi Alison Adler, Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly

Rabbi Allison Berry, Temple Shalom, Newton

Rabbi Laura Abrasley, Temple Shalom, Newton

Rabbi Eric Gurvis, Temple Shalom, Newton

Rabbi Shoshana Friedman, Temple Sinai, Brookline

Rabbi Andrew Vogel, Temple Sinai, Brookline

Nora Abrahamer, President, Temple Sinai,

Rabbi Audrey Marcus Berkman, Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline

Shari Churwin, Education Director, Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline

Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah, West Roxbury

Rabbi Benjamin Samuels, Congregation Shaarei Tefillah, Newton

Rabbi Ronne Friedman, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Elaine Zecher, Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman, Senior Scholar, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Matthew Soffer, Senior Associate Rabbi, Temple Israel Boston

Rabbi Jenn Gubitz, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Suzie Jacobson, Temple Israel, Boston

Cantor Roy Einhorn, Temple Israel, Boston

Dan Deutsch, Executive Director, Temple Israel, Boston

Gary Pforzheimer, President, Temple Israel, Boston

Marc Maxwell, Vice President, Temple Israel, Boston

Alane Shanks, Treasurer, Temple Israel, Boston

Rabbi Cari Bricklin- Small, Temple Shir Tikvah, Winchester

Rabbi Danny Burkeman, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Rabbi Jordana Schuster Battis, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Scott A. Cohen, President, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Susan Altman, Executive Director, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

Rabbi Daniel Liben, Temple Israel of Natick, Natick

Rabbi Darby J. Leigh, Kerem Shalom, Concord

Rabbi David J. Meyer, Temple Emanu-El, Marblehead

Rabbi David Lerner, Temple Emunah, Lexington

Shelley Rossman, Director, Pre-School of Temple Emunah, Lexington

Rabbi David Weiner, Knesset Israel, Pittsfield

Rabbi Eliana Jacobowitz, Temple B’nai Brith, Somerville

Rabbi Emily Mathis, Director of Community Development, Tremont Street Shul, Cambridge

Brian Eisenstein, President, Tremont Street Shul, Cambridge

Rabbi Howard A. Cohen, Congregation Shiray Hayam, Swampscott

Rabbi Howard Jaffe, Senior Rabbi, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, Lexington

Barry Tuber, President, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, Lexington

Steven Jaworski, Facilities Manager, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, Lexington

Rabbi Jay Pearlman, Temple Beth Shalom, Needham

Rabbi Todd A. Markley, Temple Beth Shalom, Needham

Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler, Temple Sinai, Sharon

Rabbi Joshua Breindel, Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley, Sudbury

Rabbi Keith Stern, Temple Beth Avodah, Newton

Elyse Hyman, Executive Director, Temple Beth Avodah, Newton

Rabbi Kenneth Carr, Temple Chayai Shalom, Easton

Rabbi Liz P.G. Hirsch, Temple Anshe Amunim, Pittsfield

Rabbi Louis Polisson, Congregation Or Atid, Wayland

Laura Blumberg, President, Congregation Or Atid, Wayland

Rabbi Mayshe Schwartz, Director, The Chai Center and YJP, Brookline

Rabbi Mendy Kivman, Chabad of Greater Milford, Milford

Rabbi Micah Citrin, Temple Beth David, Westwood

Rabbi Ron Fish, Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel, Sharon

Rabbi Rachel Silverman, Temple Israel, Sharon

Joshua Blumenthal, Executive Director, Temple Israel, Sharon

Marion Gribetz, President, Temple Israel, Sharon

Rabbi Mordechai Rackover, Principal, Temple Israel of Sharon Religious School, Sharon

Rabbi Moshe Bleich, Director, Wellesley-Weston Chabad, Wellesley

Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman, Chabad of Peabody, Peabody

Rabbi Raphael Kanter, Tifereth Israel Congregation, New Bedford

Rabbi Richard E. Perlman, Senior Rabbi, Temple Ner Tamid, Peabody

Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel Temple Beth Am, Framingham

Rabbi Susan Abramson, Temple Shalom Emeth, Burlington

Rabbi Thomas M. Alpert, Temple Etz Chaim, Franklin

Richard Shulman, President, Temple Etz Chaim, Franklin

Rabbi Toba Spitzer, Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, West Newton, President of the MA Board of Rabbis

Rabbi Victor Reinstein, Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue, Jamaica Plain

Rabbi William Hamilton, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

David E. Williams, President, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

Jonathan E. Slutzman, Vice President, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

Paula Silver, Director of Administration, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline

Rabbi Yehoshua Zehavi, Congregation Agudat Achim, Leominster

Scott Zibel, President, Congregation Agudat Achim, Leominster

David Susman, Security Committee Chair, Congregation Agudat Achim, Leominster

Rabbi Yisroel Freeman, Chabad Center of Sudbury, Sudbury

Randy O’Brien, President Temple Kol Tikvah, Sharon

Randy Kafka, Temple Kol Tikvah Sharon

Sanford Keliher, Vice President, Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly

Bernard Der, Security Committee Chair, Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly

Sara Smolover, President Temple Beth Zion

Sarah Baron-Kelly, Administrator, Temple Beth Emunah, Easton

Cantor Vera Broekhuysen, Spiritual Leader, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

David Belsky, Safety & Security Chair, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

Scott Hannula, Assistant Secretary, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

Stephen Ashkinos, Executive Director, Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley

Bob Schecter, President of the Board of Trustees, Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley

Stephen Winer, Executive Director, Congregation B’nai Shalom, Westborough

Zach Dunn, Executive Director, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Lynda Gordon, Tri President, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Caryl Goodman, Tri-President, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Steven Kaitz, Tri-President, Congregation Mishkan Tefilah, Brookline

Susan Schreiner Weingarten, Chairperson, The Boston Synagogue, Boston

Cynthia Levitt, Executive Director, Temple Emeth, Chestnut Hill

Michael Clayton, President, Temple Emeth, Chestnut Hill

David Jacobson, President, Adams Street Synagogue, Newton

David Leers, President, Temple Beth Elohim, Acton

Ellen Rappaport Tanowitz, President, Temple Reyim, Newton

Jeff Lurie, Executive Director, Temple Emanuel, Newton

Liz Goldstein, Executive Vice President, Temple Emanuel, Newton

Joanna Myers, President, Congregation Shalom, North Chelmsford

Kenneth Lifton, Security Chair, Temple Shalom Emeth, Burlington

Kenneth Milgran, Director of Security, Young Israel Congregation, Sharon

Marilyn Okonow, President, The Vilna Shul, Boston

Mark Fydenberg, President, Temple Beth Israel, Waltham

Marilyn Racette, Security Committee Chair, Temple Beth Israel, Waltham

Maureen Chapman, Executive Director, Temple Emanuel of Andover, Andover

Nancy J. LaFleur, Executive Director, Temple Emanu-El, Haverhill

Paul Cooperstein, President, Congregation Beth Shalom of the Blue Hills, Milton

Rabbi Binyomin Mermelstein, Executive Director, Torah Academy, Brookline

Rabbi Uri Feldman, Dean, Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael Highschool for Boys, Chestnut Hill

Julie Galler, Executive Director, Striar Hebrew Academy, Sharon

Susan Tanchel, Head of School, JCDS Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, Watertown

Elizabeth Waksman, Board President, JCDS Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, Watertown

Amy Gold, Head of School, Epstein Hillel School, Marblehead

Lisa Scott, Assistant Director, Gan Elohim Preschool, Wellesley

Dr. Jerrold I. Katz, Interim Head of School, Gann Academy, Waltham

Gail Schulman, COO, Gann Academy, Waltham

Ellen Chajes, Executive Director, Bais Yaakov School, Boston

Rabbi Neal Gold, Jewish Chaplain, Babson College, Boston

Ethan Sobel, Assistant Director, Boston University Hillel, Boston

Jonah Steinberg, Executive Director, Harvard Hillel, Cambridge

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, President, Hebrew College, Newton

Amy Schechtman, President & CEO, 2Life Communities, Brighton

Ed Pletman, Director of Finance, Camp Ramah New England, Norwood

Jonathan Cohen, President, Eli and Bessie Cohen Camps, Wellesley

Arlene Remz, Executive Director, Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, Newton

Louis J. Woolf, President & CEO, Hebrew SeniorLife, Boston

Samuel I. Mendales, Executive Director, Hillel Council of New England, Newton Centre

Lital Carmel, Regional Director, Israeli-American Council, Newton

Kimberlee Schumacher, President & CEO, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston, Newton

Carl Zack, Interim CEO, Jewish Family & Children Services, Waltham

Jamie Grossman, Board President, Jewish Family & Children Services, Waltham

Dale Okonow, Board Member, Jewish Family & Children Services, Waltham

Jerry Rubin, President & CEO, Jewish Vocational Services, Boston

Marc Jacobs, CEO, Jewish Family Services Metrowest, Framingham

Lino Covarrubias, COO, Jewish Family Services Metrowest, Framingham

Idit Klein, President & CEO, Keshet, Boston

Carrie Bornstein, Executive Director, Mayyim Hayyim Mikvah, Auburndale

Dan Trajman, President & CEO, New England Israel Business Council Inc., Newton

Rabbi David Jaffe, The Kirva Institute, Sharon


Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito
Senate President Karen Spilka
Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo
Secretary Michael J. Heffernan, Executive Office of Administration & Finance
Secretary Daniel Bennett, Executive Office of Public Safety & Security
Senator Michael Rodrigues, Chair, Senate Committee on Ways and Means
Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means