Making good on a promise he made at the Bender Jewish Community Center in Rockville on Friday, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett sent a $225,000 supplemental appropriation request to the County Council on Monday to help the Jewish community beef up security at its facilities in the county.
The appropriation comes after the Bender center and the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School—both in Rockville—received bomb threats in the past month. The council is scheduled to review the appropriation request at its meeting Tuesday in Rockville.
Leggett made the promise at a solidarity event that featured dozens of political and religious leaders who condemned recent local acts of hate and bigotry.
“Given the serious nature of recent anti-Semitic threats, I believe it is prudent and urgent that we assist the Jewish community in protecting their schools, their offices, and their community services facilities in Montgomery County,” Leggett wrote in his memo to the council. “These organizations have invested significant resources for safety upgrades. However, more is needed.”
The money would be used by the day school and Bender Center to upgrade windows and door locks and would pay for security cameras at the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s 5-acre campus in North Bethesda.
County Council President Roger Berliner told reporters during a press briefing Monday that the Jewish community has asked the county to help finance the security upgrades in the past and that has helped speed up the process for getting them approved this time.
He said he also encouraged Leggett to examine the security needs of other religious facilities, especially those serving Muslims. Last week, a Muslim community center and mosque in Silver Spring received letters threatening violence.
Berliner said the leaders seek to make sure “any faith group that is targeted receives the kinds of protection and support they should in Montgomery County.”