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Laconia, Concord temples on list for security grants

New Hampshire houses of worship, including Temple B’Nai Israel, will share in $635,000 through a federal program to improve security, the state’s congressional delegation announced this week.

The Laconia temple is to receive a $38,500 grant.

Ira Keltz, president of Temple B’Nai Israel, said that as part of the grant application process, a security review was done in collaboration with Laconia Police Chief Matt Canfield, FBI representatives from New Hampshire and Jewish Federation consultants.

The money will be used for a built-in alarm, a new video monitoring system, steel doors and window security. Attention to security is a priority, he said.

“We always involve and consult with Chief Canfield whenever we hold large events and we request security details,” he said.

“With everything that has gone on across the country, it would be irresponsible not to do that.”

One of the temple’s biggest yearly events is its food festival. Online ordering and contactless food pickup will be done this year, given concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Houses of worship are under enormous pressure as they work to keep their congregants safe from both COVID-19 and also domestic and foreign terrorist threats,” Sen. Maggie Hassan said in a news release.

“Over the last year, I worked with colleagues from both parties to increase funding to help non-profits and houses of worship strengthen their physical security, and I’m glad that New Hampshire non-profits and houses of worship will receive significantly higher funding this year.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said she was pleased with the grants.

“No one should ever feel unsafe while practicing their faith in a house of worship,” she said.

Rep. Ann Kuster said it’s crucial to protect houses of worship.

“Tragically, in recent years, houses of worship and community centers have been targeted by those seeking to harm their neighbors,” she said. “This funding will help New Hampshire non-profits and places of worship to increase safety measures and keep Granite Staters out of harm’s way.”

Rep. Chris Pappas said there have been serious, credible threats targeting houses of worship. 

“No Granite Stater should have to fear for their safety while seeking care at a nonprofit or seeking peace in their house of worship,” he said. “These federal funds will help organizations improve emergency management and mitigate security threats from foreign and domestic terrorism to ensure the safety of our families and neighbors.”

Grant recipients:

?Crossing Life Church and Community Center in Windham – $50,000 grant

?First Congregational Church of Hampton – $49,450 grant

? International Institute of New England, Manchester – $49,999 grant

?Jaffrey Bible Church – $39,525 grant

?Jewish Federation of New Hampshire – $50,000 grant

?Catholic Charities New Hampshire – $50,000 grant

?Second Start in Concord – $49,998 grant

?Temple Beth Abraham in Nashua – $45,000 grant

?Temple Beth Jacob in Concord – $31,635 grant

?Temple B'nai Israel in Laconia – $38,500 grant

?Temple Israel NH in Portsmouth – $48,993 grant

?The First Church in Nashua – $50,000 grant

?The Lee Church Congregational – $31,985 grant

?Wellspring Worship Center of Lebanon – $50,000 grant