Synagogue Cameras Latest Example of Gov's House of Worship Protection Grant

BOSTON (State House News Service) — Early on in the pandemic, someone vandalized Temple Beth David of the South Shore by shooting out its front window with what appeared to be a BB gun or pellet gun, according to the synagogue's president, Marilyn Whipple.

No one was hurt by the act, which left seven holes in the window, Whipple said. Synagogue leaders felt at the time they needed to make the property more secure, but they struggled to do so with their "limited resources" -- a problem solved by the award of a $23,000 state grant through a program aimed at boosting safety for houses of worship.

"It is going to enable us to install professional-grade security cameras, which will be a huge help to our community and protect our property," Whipple said of the funding. "It's something that we really couldn't have done otherwise."

Whipple was one of a group of faith leaders and lawmakers the Baker administration hosted Wednesday for a virtual event highlighting the latest $950,000 pool of grant funding through the Commonwealth Nonprofit Security Grant Program. The grants will flow to 53 faith-based organizations and houses of worship to help secure them against risks of violence.

Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Public Safety and Security Secretary Thomas Turco described the funding as an important bulwark to protect religious expression against violent extremism.

"We all know the history of the commonwealth of Mass. There are a lot of people who came here specifically to have that opportunity," Baker said. "We'll do everything we can to make sure that people have that opportunity to do it here in Massachusetts, and we'll basically make very clear that we find all the hatred, the bigotry, the violence absolutely appalling."

Since launching in 2018, the grant program has provided about $3 million in funding to 124 houses of worship and faith organizations, according to the administration.

Written by Chris Lisinski/SHNS

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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