Democrats have become increasingly comfortable with providing funds to religious groups, provided that they aren’t used for religious purposes.
Under previous rules, relief funds could not go to synagogues and other houses of worship due to concerns about separation of church and state.
“The change of administration obviously helped” in getting the rule change, an Orthodox Union official said.
FEMA funds currently can’t go to churches or synagogues due to concerns about separation of church and state.
Armed with a presidential tweet, a bill moving forward in Congress and a pending lawsuit, Jewish and Christian advocates believe they are on the verge of overturning a long-standing policy that has prohibited federal emergency funds from reaching houses of worship hit by natural disasters.
For Houston’s devastated synagogues, government funds to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey may not come due to church-state separation regulations.
The Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island was awarded almost $500,000 in federal funding to repair damages that occurred during Superstorm Sandy.
Last Hanukkah, Marjorie Slome’s synagogue lay devastated after Sandy. A year later, she tells how her attitude about government’s role in helping religious institutions has changed.
Johnna Kaplan lost her car to Hurricane Sandy. It took her months to realize she would get no help from FEMA. And she was one of the lucky ones.
EDITORIAL: A year after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the suffering continues and we can draw some clear lessons about the limits of federal help.