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Jewish Federation receives $15 million for security

By Lisa Brody

In the recently approved state budget, a $15 million grant was given to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit for security, written in the budget as a “nonprofit public safety group,” with the federation currently determining how best to utilize the grant for the betterment of its community in the face of rising threats and antisemitism.

“Everyone is our community recognizes the increase in antisemitism that impacts all of us at every step of life, from children walking into preschool to elders of our community who worship daily and weekly at our synagogues,” said state Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield, Bloomfield Township), who spearheaded the grant, along with state Reps. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills, Bloomfield Township) and Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield, Commerce Township, Bloomfield Township). “While we're doing everything we can to lower the temperature of hateful rhetoric that can turn into hateful action, we need to combat that with practical, tangible results. That's where this security investment is directed.”

In December 2022, parents dropping their young children at the preschool at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Township were verbally accosted by a man in a vehicle yelling anti-Semitic slurs at them and their children. He was ultimately arrested and charged with ethnic intimidation.

There have been threats against synagogues and temples, including hate messages spray painted on a synagogue in Royal Oak in May, and numerous other incidents of antisemitism and hate crimes throughout the metro Detroit area.

Moss said he and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the umbrella organization for many Jewish organizations in southeastern Michigan, have been having a lot of conversations in the last couple of years over what can be done and how to better provide security to the Jewish community, religious organizations and houses of worship.

“Sadly, antisemitic acts in the United States are at their highest level in decades, with a 36 percent increase from 2021 to 2022 alone. There was a 12 percent increase in incidents at Jewish institutions such as synagogues, Jewish community centers and Jewish schools. We are grateful for the critical, bipartisan support from the state of Michigan in the fight against antisemitism,” said Steven Ingber, chief executive officer, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

“We were able to bring it home with this budget,” Moss said. “This type of grant is very important – and it's tied to my name. I'm the state's lone Jewish state senator.”

He said he had conversations with fellow Jewish state representatives Arbit and Steckloff to move the grant forward.

“We were hereto make the joint request. The timing was right this year with the budget surplus,” Moss said. “It's something my colleagues (in the state legislature) felt was worthy to put into the final budget.”

The specifics of how the grant will be used is still being discussed.

“We'll be having a more comprehensive approach to investments with the federation and we'll be announcing this as soon as we can,” Moss said. Federation officials also confirmed they are still determining the best use for the grant money.


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