CNYCF Grants Addressing Rising Local Tensions from Middle East Conflict

"By supporting these organizations that are living by our belief in the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals as well as our equity values, we can provide immediate support to those being unfairly persecuted for their religion, race or nationality.”

The Central New York Community Foundation is distributing a total of $15,500 in crisis response grants to address local safety and security concerns within the community amid the Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East.

The Jewish Federation of Central New York will receive $5,000 to enhance security measures at six Jewish organizations due to a predicted increase in anti-Semitic sentiment and violence both locally and nationally. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States increased by more than 36% from 2021 to 2022, and officials are expecting this trend to continue amid increasing tensions.

“The deadly attacks and kidnappings that took place in Israel last week have profoundly shocked and saddened our Jewish community, already trying to come to grips with rising incidents of anti-Semitism locally and nationally,” said Michael Balanoff, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Central New York. “The Community Foundation’s concern for the well-being of our community, and this wonderful gesture of outreach, allyship and support is deeply meaningful and even more deeply appreciated.”

Masjid Isa Ibn Maryam (Mosque of Jesus Son of Mary) will receive $3,000 to bring together community members, especially young people in high school and college, for activities that reflect on the sanctity, value and dignity of every human life and on how we can bring peace into our world. Al Huda Mosque and Furqan Weekend School will receive $2,500 for security and safety measures at its location.

“Reports of rising Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the U.S. bring fears very close to home,” said Mark Cass, executive director of North Side Learning Center.  “The support and outreach of the Community Foundation is deeply appreciated, and will be used to bring local people – of many backgrounds and faiths – together to reflect and remind ourselves that peace and security, basic human needs, and shared values in our various religious teachings are vital, and that together we can help bring peace to our world and our small corner of it.”

In addition, Interfaith Works will receive $3,000 to support interreligious community dialogue and Hendricks Chapel will receive $2,000 to foster interfaith cooperation on the Syracuse University campus.

“When terrorism and war erupts in the Middle East, Jewish and Muslim communities find themselves having to grapple with increased hatred and intolerance, including here in Central New York,” said Thomas Griffith, interim president and CEO and vice president of development at the Community Foundation. “The Community Foundation’s role during times of crisis is to urgently respond to the needs of the local community. By supporting these organizations that are living by our belief in the   fundamental value and dignity of all individuals as well as our equity values, we can provide immediate support to those being unfairly persecuted for their religion, race or nationality.”

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