Third wave of bomb threats
(JTA)—At least 11 Jewish community centers across the United States were targeted with bomb threats in the third wave of such mass disruption this month.
David Posner, director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America, whose role involves advising local JCCs on security policies and practices, issued the below statement:
“Today, a third wave of bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers has caused 14 centers in 10 states plus one Canadian province, to quickly carry out practiced security protocols to ensure the safety of their participants and facilities. While the situation is developing, most have already received the all-clear from local law enforcement and resumed regular operations, with a heightened level of security.
“Safety is our top priority. JCC Association is coordinating security trainings for JCC executives and staff, to ensure that our community of professionals across the country is prepared with critical tools, resources and contacts.
Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Networks—an affiliate of the Jewish federations of North America, which advises Jewish groups and institutions on security—said the threats were called in late Tuesday morning. It was not clear at the time whether the messages were live or recorded, or the gender of the caller.
“[I]n the past we know that the numbers can grow exponentially,” he said, adding that perpetrators have been “leveraging technologies to make mass calls.”
He said his organization was instructing the JCCs to be in touch with local police to determine if they should evacuate.
“In light of the newest bomb threats, we must remain a resilient community, and we need to ensure that we are back at our JCCs as soon as local police advise the all-clear,” Goldenberg said.
Posner stated: “This is the third time this month that multiple JCCs have received phoned in bomb threats in a single day; on Jan. 18, 27 Jewish community centers in 17 states received threats, and on Jan. 9, 16 centers in nine states received threats.
“We are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats. All threats from the previous two dates have been determined to be hoaxes. The FBI is actively investigating the source or sources of these calls. We are relieved that no one has been harmed and that JCCs continue to operate in a way that puts the safety of their staff, visitors, and premises first.”
The list of JCCs which confirmed receiving bomb threats today follows, by state: California—Alpert Jewish Community Center, Long Beach and Lawrence Family JCC, La Jolla; Colorado—Boulder Jewish Community Center; Illinois—Lake County JCC, Lake Zurich; New Jersey—JCC Metro West, West Orange, and Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, Tenafly; New York—Sidney Albert Albany JCC, Jewish Community Center of Syracuse; Massachusetts—Worcester JCC; New Mexico—Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque; Ohio—JCC of Toledo, Sylvania; Utah—I.J. & Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center, Salt Lake City; Wisconsin—The Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, Milwaukee; and Ontario, Canada—London Jewish Community Centre.