OU’s Maury Litwack Introduces Gov. Hochul Ahead of Her Announcement of Much-Needed Package to Fund 872 Grants as Part of New York’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant Program

Teach NYS, a nonpartisan project of the Orthodox Union that advocates for government funding for the state’s nonpublic schools, praised N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday for announcing the recipients of $43 million to fund 872 grants at 362 Jewish and other nonpublic day schools, houses of worship, summer camps and an array of other nonprofits as part of the state’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes grant program. The governor also announced the availability of $25 million for the grants in the coming year.

The announcement at a press conference at Manhattan’s Museum of Jewish Heritage came amid an ongoing nationwide surge in attacks against Jews and other groups targeted for their ideology, race and beliefs. A recent FBI report found antisemitic attacks account for 57 percent of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the United States–more than any other faith group in the country.

“We are grateful to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her unflinching commitment to fighting the ongoing scourge of attacks on Jews and other such violence across New York State,” said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane. “Since becoming governor of New York just six weeks ago, Gov. Hochul has demonstrated immense leadership in tackling this ancient hatred and speaking forcefully against those who seek to harm our community.”

Said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer, “Gov. Hochul has been a tireless champion for New York’s Jewish community. We are tremendously fortunate to have her leading the state and we commend her fast action to provide New York’s Jewish community the resources needed to combat hate crimes.

Orthodox Union Managing Director of Public Affairs Maury Litwack introduced Gov. Hochul at the event. “Gov. Hochul is an incredible leader, public servant and voice for the voiceless,” he told the audience, which included numerous community leaders and lawmakers. “She cares deeply about protecting all New Yorkers from hatred and from violence. Gov. Hochul has always spoken up loudly and proudly against antisemitism.”

Litwack underscored Gov. Hochul’s deep understanding of the issue by sharing a story about bringing her to New York City’s Yeshiva Darchei Torah six months ago. As lieutenant governor at the time, she listened to two middle school students share their fears of being attacked because they were Jewish. Ms. Hochul reassured them their safety was her top priority and that hate would not be tolerated in New York in any form.

Teach NYS and its coalition partners began working in 2017 to help craft and press for the implementation of the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes grant program, which provides individual institutions grants of up to $50,000 apiece. New York has previously awarded two rounds of funding: $14 million in 2017-18, which funded 280 grants, and $11 million in 2018-19, which funded 220 grants.

Teach NYS and its parent Teach Coalition have long made increased security a top priority; in 2013, Teach NYS helped create the first statewide security program in New York, as part of the SAFE ACT; in 2016, Teach NYS led a coalition in New York City to pass the first nonpublic school security guard program. Since its inception, Teach NYS has doubled security funding for nonpublic schools across the state.