Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco speaks on California Senate floor May 14 in support of SR109.
Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco speaks on the California Senate floor May 14, 2018.

Jewish state lawmakers trumpet $80 million earmarked for Jewish priorities

Jewish state lawmakers in Sacramento are celebrating $80 million they helped secure for Jewish community priorities in the 2021-2022 state budget. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign the financial blueprint by the end of the month.

In a press release Monday, the California Legislative Jewish Caucus enumerated six line items it lobbied for that made it into the spending plan. The largest-ticket item is $50 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which offers grants to religious institutions and other vulnerable nonprofits. In the past, Bay Area synagogues, day schools and Federations have used grant money secured through the NSGP, along with funds from a similar federal program established after 9/11, to purchase security equipment such as bollards, gates and surveillance systems.

In 2019 after the Poway shooting, Newsom announced $15 million for the NSGP, the largest amount ever for the program at the time. Last year the initiative received no funding amid a budget shortfall caused by the pandemic.

Other Jewish community priorities include, per the release:

$10 million for the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles to “create a new and fully interactive state-of-the-art exhibit on antisemitism” that will take up the entire third floor of the museum.

$8 million to an immigrant-aid program called Enhanced Services Program for Asylees (a major priority, the caucus says, for HIAS, formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society).

$5.7 million to Jewish Family Services Los Angeles to buy a permanent food bank location in Van Nuys.

$2.5 million to Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles to support an expansion of the museum.

$1 million to Jewish Family and Children’s Services in San Francisco for a renovation of the Tauber Holocaust Library.

“The Jewish Caucus secured extraordinary wins in the state budget this year,” said Sen. Scott Wiener in the release. Wiener, who represents San Francisco, is vice chair of the caucus.

Anita Friedman, executive director of JFCS, said the organization was “forever grateful for the tireless efforts of the caucus” and its partnership.

“The funding to renovate and upgrade the Tauber Holocaust Library and Archives at JFCS will preserve a priceless archival collection,” she said, “that plays a central role in educational programs serving thousands of California students each year and researchers around the world.”

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.