A sanctuary should be just that — a place of safety.
But even places of worship don’t always offer a refuge from the violence shattering our society, as Americans were reminded with the 2018 shooting that killed 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
So it’s welcome news that the Otto Bremer Trust has generously made a two-year, $250,000 grant to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) to provide security at places of worship, as well as to achieve other laudable goals.
The JCRC will offer security expertise to synagogues, to be sure, but also to mosques, temples and churches, all of which can play constructive roles in rebuilding our deeply divided society.
The grant will “supplement our efforts to make all our communities safer,” Steve Hunegs, executive director at the JCRC, told an editorial writer.
“It aligns with the concept that when we strengthen one community, we strengthen all communities, and that’s consistent with the Bremer vision that healthier communities are safer communities.”
Part of strengthening communities — and realizing the Otto Bremer Trust’s vision — will be programs to promote civil rights and combat anti-Semitism, among other elements.
“In this increasingly factionalized and fractionalized world where people are cabining themselves in homogenous environments, we’re using [the grant] to break down barriers,” Hunegs said.
“So we’re taking a difficult reality — rising anti-Semitism and animus toward minority groups — and turning it into a positive in creating a relationship between communities and institutions.”
Just like the Otto Bremer Trust did with this grant. And just as Americans from all backgrounds must do to help mend America’s increasingly frayed social fabric.