ACT NOW! Congress Must Help Jewish Communities Protect Themselves
US Capitol

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker simply did what he was trained to do, proving that active-shooter training works.

When a radical Islamist showed up at Beth Israel Congregation services on Saturday morning and took Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three congregants hostage, the rabbi maintained a calm demeanor and a quiet situational awareness.

The standoff ended when the rabbi sensed a moment of opportunity to throw a chair at Malik Faisal Akram, creating the necessary distraction for everyone to escape.

Unharmed.

Rather than donning a superhero’s cape, Cytron-Walker matter-of-factly credits active-shooter training courses provided by the FBI, the Colleyville Police Department, the Anti-Defamation League and the Secure Community Network.

“Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself,” he repeatedly stressed.

Demand for this training has increased as Jews in America have been feeling more and more vulnerable at countless Jewish schools, community centers, synagogues and other institutions.

Unfortunately — even before Colleyville — there wasn’t enough money to meet demands. American Jewish organizations have been calling on lawmakers to double the funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) from $180 million annually to $360 million.

The sum of $360 million was first proposed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) several years ago, according to the Orthodox Union.

NSGP grants help non-profits at risk — including churches, mosques and museums — to obtain security cameras, secure doors, active-shooter training and a stepped-up police presence. The program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the Jewish Federations of North America, Jewish organizations have applied for $220 million in funds that could not be granted because of NSGP’s limited budget. Those demands will only increase now.

Reports indicate that key officials, including Attorney General Merrick Garland, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Majorkas and FBI director Christopher Wray, are already on board for the additional funds. The ball is in Congress’s court.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker isn’t more powerful than a locomotive, nor is he capable of leaping tall buildings with a single bound. He simply did what he was trained to do, and he proved that the program works.

Demand Congress Expand Funding for National Security Grant Program

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