WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of people lined up at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington to stand with Jewish families in Pittsburgh, following Saturday’s shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue.
Monday night’s interfaith service and solidarity gathering was an expression of love and anger. “We must and we will take America back,” said Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, Ron Halber.
Faith and political leaders are calling for an end to hate and more resources to protect houses of worship.
“The sense of safety people had within the congregation is gone,” said Gil Preuss, CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
Extra officers and security measures have been in place at synagogues throughout the region since Saturday’s shooting in Pittsburgh, but now there's a stronger push for permanent security plans.
In the District, nine faith-based organizations, including Adas Israel, received nearly $1 million in funding last week from the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to upgrade security.
This Security Grant Program has been in place since 2005, but this fiscal year, a record $60 million was put aside for nonprofits in the country identified as potential targets.
- Adas Israel Congregation - $150,000
- Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC Inc. - $150,000
- Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital, North Campus - $150,000
- The National Presbyterian Church Inc. - $150,000
- The Georgetown Synagogue - Kesher Israel Congregation - $140,000
- Sixth & I Synagogue Inc. - $81,500
- New Bethel Baptist Church - $75,000
- Washington National Cathedral - $50,000
- Jewish Policy Center - $30,000
At Monday night’s solidarity gathering at Adas Israel, there was also an effort to raise money for security upgrades at all synagogues in the Washington area.
“It's tragic. When people come to pray and to be with each other in community, why should we have to think about someone possibly coming in with a gun and trying to hurt us,” said Preuss.
D.C.’s Homeland Security Agency plans to hold a workshop before year’s end to help houses of prayer in the city fine-tune safety plans.