State money approved as part of a larger package to help prevent anti-Semitic violence.
A state grant of $1 million will help the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee make security upgrades and help train its members on safety precautions, the group said in a news release.
The funding is part of a statewide initiative that set aside $4 million to protect synagogues, day schools and other facilities from anti-Semitic violence.
According to a news release from the local organization, the state grant will fund a pair of local projects.
- Upgrades will be made to the Larry and Mary Greenspon Family Campus for Jewish Life on McIntosh Road. Among the projects to be undertaken: a 24-hour security checkpoint at the center’s entrance; improved lighting; safe rooms and upgraded software to track and identify visitors to the 33-acre complex.
- Funding to help create a training center to deliver safety education for the Jewish community. First aid, CPR and threat awareness education will help ensure a protected and prepared community, the news release said.
The campus plays host to numerous events each year and attracts thousands of visits.
Safety has been a concern of the local Jewish community for years, a concern brought into sharper focus last year when anti-Semitic messages were spray painted on the walls of Temple Emanu-el and Temple Sinai.
The local federation also held a candlelight vigil in 2018 to honor the 11 people killed at the Tree of Life synagogue near Pittsburgh when a gunman opened fire on Oct. 27.
State Sen. Joe Gruters and State Rep. James Buchanan were credited with being instrumental in securing the funds.
“On behalf of the Federation board, we offer our heartfelt appreciation to Senator Joe Gruters and Representative James Buchanan for their ongoing support and leadership to protect our community,’’ board president Randon Carvel said. “Not only will our campus be a safe place to visit, work, learn and play, the Training Center will be a leader in developing a security shield to protect the whole community.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently led a virtual town hall alongside other elected officials to speak out against anti-Semitism and hate. The town hall, held virtually on June 8, was sponsored by seven Jewish federations from around the state, including Sarasota-Manatee.
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