Since the beginning of March, there have been at least 18 reported bomb threats directed at Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) and synagogues in nine states, according to a report by the Secure Community Network (SCN). In a press release by the Jewish Security organization in the US, it said that it “is actively working with community leaders and law enforcement agencies to address a recent wave of bomb threats against Jewish facilities nationwide.” According to SCN, “this alarming number serves as a reminder that the Jewish community remains a top target for hate crimes in the United States and must continue to foster preparedness and resiliency.”
The New York Jewish Week reported this week that The JCC of Staten Island briefly evacuated its buildings Friday following a bomb threat. Communications Director Allison Cohen told The New York Jewish Week that the JCC received a threatening email, in what may be the latest in a spate of such false threats sent into JCCs and other Jewish institutions around the country.
As the official safety and security organization for the Jewish community in North America, SCN recently joined with JCC Association of North America to convene a meeting with more than 100 executive directors of JCCs, members of state and local law enforcement agencies, members of the national network of Jewish security professionals, and officials from the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security. Participants discussed the magnitude of the threats, strategies and advice on effective response, and how best to protect the local communities affected by these incidents. FBI officials have emphasized that the investigations into these threats are active and remain a high priority for the agency.
“This significant wave of threats is yet another call to action for the Jewish community to be as prepared and protected as possible,” said SCN National Director and CEO Michael Masters. “Through our National Jewish Security Operations Command Center and the network of professional security directors working on behalf of the Jewish community, we are coordinating closely with community partners, local, state, and federal law enforcement – notably the FBI – to identify and stop the perpetrators of these threats. SCN and JCC Association will continue to work together to best ensure the safety and security of the Jewish community.”
“Jewish Community Centers are the central Jewish address in 170 neighborhoods, towns, and cities across North America, frequented by both the Jewish community and many others who are drawn to our programs,” said Doron Krakow, president and CEO of JCC Association. “Nothing is more important than safeguarding those who rely on JCCs every day, and together with SCN and our partners in law enforcement, we will do everything necessary to ensure that JCCs remain safe and open for everyone.”
“We are grateful for the support of SCN, JCC Association, and law enforcement and security professionals as we work to protect everyone we serve,” said Eric Koehler, CEO of the JCC of Indianapolis, which received one of the recent bomb threats. “For the past 100 years, our JCC has been an important center of life for the Jewish community and beyond. We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment where all people can live, learn, play and connect.”
The Secure Community Network (SCN) is the official homeland safety and security initiative of the organized Jewish community in North America. SCN was founded under the auspices of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.