During remarks to 50 children ages 6 to 13 at Chabad of Naples Hebrew school, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott announced $2 million in funding that he and the Florida Legislature recently approved to strengthen security in at-risk non-public schools, including Jewish schools, as part of the state’s 2018-19 budget.

A friend of Chabad of Naples since addressing the grand opening of its center in 2011, Scott and first lady Ann have been guests at their Hebrew school on many occasions, says Rabbi Fishel Zaklos, co-director of the Chabad with his wife, Ettie. “He wanted to come see us again and see our progress,” says the rabbi.

The funds are for fences, cameras, shatterproof windows, key-card entry systems and crisis communication systems, according to media reports. State funding for non-public school security was first approved in the 2017-18 state budget in the amount of $654,000.

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Chabad of Naples, which runs a preschool, Hebrew shool, summer camp, classes and more for hundreds of area children, won’t benefit from the particular allocation, but appreciates what it means for other schools. “It’s amazing,” says Zaklos. “We’re so proud he’s doing it for the day schools across the state.”

Scott visited during Hebrew school, where children sang for the governor and heard about his recent trip to Israel.

During his visit, Scott also recognized Chabad’s efforts in the community, especially during Hurricane Irma, when Chabad provided food, shelter, assistance and support for those affected by the storm.

In the community 15 years, Zaklos adds that he appreciates the governor’s gesture. “It’s an honor to be recognized on this level and to receive the governor’s thanks in so many ways for what we’re doing for both the Jewish community and general community.”

Rabbi Fishel and Etti Zaklos show the governor around the Chabad center.
Rabbi Fishel and Etti Zaklos show the governor around the Chabad center.