FRAMINGHAM – Jewish Family Services of MetroWest received a grant through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to improve the security of the organization’s front entrance.
With the grant, the Framingham-based organization was able to eliminate its glass door entranceway and install a “ballistic proof door.”
” As a Jewish agency, JFS is vulnerable to attacks fueled by antisemitism, and this grant enabled us to improve the security of the agency and better protect our staff, volunteers and clients,” said the organization.
On Thursday, March 16, the organization held a Mezuzah ceremony with Temple Beth Am Rabbi Sam Blumberg, for the new secure entrance.
In attendance besides Jewish Family Services of MetroWest CEO Lino Covarrubias, was Senate President Karen Spilka, Louis Lasky, owner of L/R Construction in Framingham, and Jeremy Burton, the Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston (JCRC).
Lasky’s company constructed and installed the new secure door.
“We joked that this was the Governor’s door, but in fact it’s Senate President’s door,”: said Covarrubias.
“This is what it used to look like. We had a big glass enclosure that, and this picture doesn’t do it justice because it got elongated,” said Covarrubias yesterday. “This whole area was the glass enclosure. And, you can imagine what people felt like that were right in front at that desk, right? To our staff, it really felt not secure. So definitely when the security grants came across, we really jumped at the opportunity because it allowed us to really secure this door. And ultimately, we’re always caring about our staff, our volunteers, and of course our clients.”
“I’m so happy to be able to provide these security grants,” said Senate President Spilka. “We all know the anxiety and the fear that so many Jewish folks are feeling now. It’s real. Antisemitism, unfortunately is real and it’s increasing. And I share that as a Jewish woman, somebody who’s had family that died in the Holocaust as well. We need to keep those memories alive and protect all of people of all faiths and all religions. And that’s why last session we passed the Genocide Education Act to encourage schools to confront the atrocities like the Holocaust, and to promote the teaching of human rights issues in general. To make sure kids grow up, understanding human rights and what that means, and make sure all schools address that. The bill is now law. And my hope is that a new generation of students will think critically about the signs and the warnings and the horrors of the past to ensure, and we’ve all heard the phrase that we need to make sure it’s a reality, that it never happens again.”
The Senate President is correct that antisemitism is on the rise.
Antisemitic incidents increased by 42 percent in the New England Region, said Peggy Shukur from the Anti Defamation League at a breakfast hosted by the Temple Beth Am Brotherhood on Sunday morning, March 12.
“I’m pleased to be able to support and make sure that organizations like JFS are safer for its congregants, its staff, its community members, anybody who comes here. Again, whether the facility serve Jewish people of Jewish faith, Muslims or Christianity, any faith, it’s important for people to feel safe,” said Senate President Spilka.
“Thank you and all of your team at JFS for all this support that you give so many people across Metro West of all ages, all backgrounds. Constantly, when I’m out and about in Greater Framingham I hear of stories from people who have been helped by JFS. You clearly you’ve made such an incredible, incredible positive impact to individuals and their families,”said the Senate President.
Rabbi Blumberg installed the mezuzah.
Covarrubias explained that the mezuzah “has been with us since 1979, since the inception of JFS” in MetroWest.