Not Afraid to Worship

Thank you to Laura Cherner, Federation’s Community Relations Council Director, for writing this week’s message. 

This week, Senator Jay Costa, Senator Kim Ward, and Representative Dan Frankel joined us at the Federation building to announce $4.5 million in funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program. In one of those seemingly rare moments of bipartisanship, our legislators came together to send a message of their commitment to keep our community safe. Funding through this program will provide vulnerable institutions with life-saving security enhancements including safety training, security equipment, technology, and threat assessments. Last year, the program was flooded with applications from Jewish and other faith-based communities, demonstrating the enormity of need for financial support to secure our institutions and places of worship. This indicates that critical security funding needs to be provided in perpetuity.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, along with our partners at the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, worked throughout the year with our elected officials to make this possible. Though this was a statewide effort, Senators Costa and Ward and Representative Frankel felt that the announcement needed to be made in Pittsburgh, standing with the Jewish community. Three years after the worst antisemitic attack in US history, the number of antisemitic incidents in Pittsburgh has continued to rise. The press conference was held on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, almost two weeks after the hostage crisis at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX. The day was a reminder that despite the horrors of the past, antisemitism is still a reality in our country. The Jewish community and all other faith-based communities should not be afraid to worship. Marginalized communities should not be afraid to exist in world of growing violence and bigotry.

We are grateful for our legislators in greater Pittsburgh and throughout the Commonwealth for their commitment to our community. Heading into Shabbat, I hope we can all feel a little bit safer.

Shabbat Shalom.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program is funded by Act 83 of 2019 and administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). Act 83 directs PCCD to administer grants to nonprofit organizations who principally serve individuals, groups or institutions that are included within a bias motivation category for single bias hate crime incidents as identified by the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics publication. For more information and to see if your organization is eligible to apply, visit then, please be in touch with Shawn Brokos, Jewish Community Security Director at

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