Sen. Blumenthal, Murphy meet with Jewish community leaders, announce increase in funding for security at places of worship


WOODBRIDGE, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut lawmakers have announced new funding for security measures in places of worship in the wake of several acts of antisemitism last year.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy joined state lawmakers and members of the Jewish Federation of Connecticut Thursday at the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven for a forum on security for places of worship in the aftermath of an act of domestic terrorism against worshipers celebrating Hanukkah in Monsey, New York.

RELATED: Hate crimes charges against man accused in Hanukkah stabbing

“For each of these events there’s a counter event that has brought interfaith communities closer together than ever before.”

– Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Bethel El in Stamford

Incidents of antisemitism across the nation have nearly doubled in the past five years. Steve Ginsburg, the head of the Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut saying they have tracked a noticeable increase in the number of reports in the state.

RELATED: 5 stabbed at rabbi’s Hanukkah celebration by intruder with machete-type knife

Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators say the new federal budget increases security grants to non profit agencies, like the federations, and places of worship from $60 million to $90 million.

Senator Blumenthal telling News 8 Thursday that the security model they are using “is what happened after Sandy Hook when schools were hardened in their defenses.”

Senator Murphy explained that money will help, but “we also have to get to the root of this dramatic increase of antisemitic activity in this country.”

All attendees at Thursday’s meeting agreed that a new state law requiring instruction about the Holocaust in public schools is a good first step.

Further increasing security measures for organizations like these is a serious financial lift, but both Blumenthal and Murphy say chances are good the federal grants will be increased again and further.

Carin Savel of the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut thanked the lawmakers for participating in the forum, saying “It’s not a Jewish problem, it’s a humankind problem.”

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