Rep. Norcross, Jewish leaders discuss security at houses of worship

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Rep. Donald Norcross and Jewish leaders in Camden County discussed security at houses of worship in the wake of recent anti-Semitic incidents in New York and New Jersey.

“I think about this all the time. We feel sometimes like we are sitting ducks and there’s nothing we can do about it,” says Rabbi Yisroel Serebrowski.

The group came together in Cherry Hill on Thursday to discuss how to prevent another shooting - like the one that happened on Dec. 10 at a kosher grocery in Jersey City – from happening again.

“I think people are beginning to understand that in order for them to feel safe, they have to take measures to make sure that anyone coming in – not just, God forbid, an attacker – but their worshipers, they’re obligated to maintain safety and security for them,” says Doron Horowitz, the regional security advisor for the Jewish Federation.

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Norcross announced a bill to quadruple funding for the nonprofit Security Expansion Act, which gives places of worship grants to secure funding for security. Serebrowski’s synagogue in Cherry Hill received $75,000 in grant money this year.

“I’m getting quotes now for access control and bullet-resistant glass for the doors and for the windows. The costs are astronomical,” Serebrowski says.

Norcross says that more needs to be done to inform the public about the potential threats.

“We need to…advocate on behalf of more resources. We spend close to $800 million on national defense. National defense starts right here in our neighborhoods,” he says.

The Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey hosted Thursday’s event. They said that it was with the hopes of getting feedback and helping houses of worship better protect themselves.

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