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Pascrell State of the Union Guest Highlights Fight Against Antisemitism

Washington, D.C., February 4, 2020

At tonight’s annual State of the Union address before Congress, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.’s (D-NJ-09) guest is Rabbi Zev Reichman, who serves as head of East Hill Synagogue in Englewood, New Jersey and as a teacher at the Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck, New Jersey.

“I am delighted to welcome my friend Rabbi Reichman to the United States Capitol,” said Rep. Pascrell, a longtime leader in Washington for North Jersey’s sprawling Jewish-American community. “As acts of antisemitism bedevil our communities in New Jersey and across America, it is imperative that we demonstrate our total resolve. Rabbi Reichman’s presence at tonight’s speech helps provide moral clarity to our national mission against antisemitism. The Nonprofit Security Grant Program we fought for has helped congregants at East Hill Synagogue feel more secure in their house of worship. I will work to keep the people’s Congress, our state, region, and nation focused on funding this critical program as we stand together to defeat hate.”

“Some issues should transcend partisan politics. We should all agree to increase the vital funding to provide security to vulnerable nonprofits. I know the difference this assistance can make,” said Rabbi Reichman. “I have seen the distress members of my community have felt due to the rise of violent anti-Semitism. Our synagogue has been made more secure with funds from the Nonprofit Security Grant. We are extremely thankful to Congressman Pascrell for his consistent support for this program and for fighting to increase the available funding. Bill is a real leader who is looking to make a difference on vital issues.”

Rep. Pascrell has long championed increased funding for NSGP. He helped secure in 2016 a $75,000 NSGP award for East Hill Synagogue, where Rabbi Reichman currently serves. He also joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month as she officially signed legislation authorizing the NSGP program. In December 2019, Reps. Pascrell and Peter King (R-NY-02) led a letter calling for the NSGP to be funded at $90 million, citing “the rise of hate groups in our nation, the record of threats facing members of our community, and the FBI’s continued concern about domestic violent extremism” as evidence that NSGP resources must be increased. One week after their letter, the requested funding was passed by the House. In August 2018, Pascrell helped secure $8.7 million in NSGP funding for New Jersey. In March 2018, Pascrell led a bipartisan letter of 106 House members calling for maintaining funding for the UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Last February’s budget deal also provided the exact level of robust funding Pascrell and his colleagues requested. For Fiscal Year 2019, Rep. Pascrell helped secure more than $7.3 million in NSGP funding for New Jersey.

Rep. Pascrell has also been the leading advocate in Congress for increased federal efforts to combat domestic extremism. Last month, Reps. Pascrell and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) held an interfaith event with religious leaders, law enforcement, and cultural groups to highlight the need to combat hate in our communities. In November 2019, Pascrell, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and former U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson held a roundtable town hall discussion in Garfield with members of law enforcement, elected officials, and religious leaders in an effort to hold a public dialogue about the rise in domestic extremism.

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