NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Statistics show that hate crimes and incidents, both white supremacy and antisemitic, are on the rise in Connecticut.

The landscape creates fear in communities, but Friday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced a new grant to ensure 23 Connecticut faith organizations are prepared for potential threats.

It’s a grant Temple Sinai wishes it didn’t need, but after recent antisemitic incidents across the country and at the synagogue, leaders are ready to enhance security.

“I wish we didn’t need to combat this but because it’s present we do,” said Brett Esterson, the president of the board of trustees at Newington’s Temple Sinai.

The temple was awarded nearly $150,000, which will be used for training and security — including more cameras and better lighting.

Esterson said Sinai has seen incidents of antisemitic remarks made on Zoom during the pandemic. It hopes to eliminate future incidents.

“Protect yourself, protect the person next to you and our goal is to keep everyone in the congregation safe,” Esterson said. “That they can come here, pray here, learn here and leave safe.”

It’s the top issue that the Jewish Federal of Greater Hartford is lobbying on, according to the organization’s president and CEO David Waren.

“Because it’s life and death,” he said. 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartfordwill receive about $133,000 in grants.

“If people aren’t comfortable engaging in religious life, dropping their kids off at a JCC, summer camp, synagogue life and elsewhere, than all the programmatic work, all the rest is meaningless,” Waren said.

The training covers prevention, imminent danger, plans of action and the medical response in the aftermath of an incident.

“[It’s] tailored specifically for each institution because some of is, where are the exits here? Where are the places to hide here?” Waren said.

The money is coming from the Nonprofit Security Grant, which is designated for groups that are at high risk for a terrorist attack.

Last year, Blumenthal worked to broaden what constitutes as a hate crime and advocated for stricter penalties. He said this is the next step in making communities safer.

“It’s not a prank, it’s not a joke hate crimes, whether it’s white supremacy or antisemitic, are the cancer that infects our entire society,” he said.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 207 white supremacist and 64 antisemitic incidents in Connecticut last year. This year’s numbers are also trending high.

“We are really seeing a dramatic increase, and anecdotally I can add that information that has been reported to us so far this year shows a greater increase, as well,” said Stacey Sobel, the Connecticut regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.