In aftermath of Poway, California governor adds $15 million for nonprofit security


WASHINGTON (JTA) — In the wake of a lethal attack on a San Diego-area synagogue, California Gov. Gavin Newsom added $15 million to his budget to help secure nonprofits.

The money would represent a major increase to the $4.5 million the state has earmarked for securing nonprofits since 2015.

“We all must call out hate — against any and all communities — and act to defend those targeted for their religious beliefs, who they love or how they identify,” Newsom said in a release.

A gunman killed one worshipper and wounded three in an attack during Shabbat services on a Chabad synagogue in Poway.

Newsom announced the added funding at a news conference called to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations at the California capitol in Sacramento. Among those in attendance were members of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, whose members are backing a bill that would codify security funding for nonprofits.

The money is separate from the $60 million in federal money earmarked for nonprofits. Teach CA, an Orthodox Union project in California that advocates for equitable funding for nonpublic schools has been advocating for increased security funding for at risk institutions since 2016.

“In light of the senseless act of anti-Semitic violence at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue, a strong response was necessary by the government of California to ensure that people of all faiths feel safe in their community institutions,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin. “Today, the Jewish Caucus and Governor Newsom have shown their commitment to the safety and security of all Californians, including those most at risk of bias or hate crimes.”

The Jewish caucus organizes testimony from survivors to be heard annually in the state capitol on Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah. Ten survivors spoke this year, and one alluded to the Poway attack.

“I came to Sacramento today to represent the survivors of the Holocaust,” said Paula Lebovics, a child survivor from Poland who was liberated from Auschwitz in 1945. “I want to enlighten the people. I do have a voice. Anti-Semitism is here once again, all over the world. The past is now present.”

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