Bomb threats hit at least 21 JCCs, Jewish day schools across U.S.

Police blocked off streets around the JCC in Harrisburg, Penn., Feb. 27, 2017. (CBS 21 News)

Police blocked off streets around the JCC in Harrisburg, Penn., Feb. 27, 2017. (CBS 21 News)

(JTA) – At least 21 Jewish community centres and Jewish day schools across the United States received bomb threats on Monday in the latest wave of threats to hit Jewish institutions.

The incidents are the fifth wave of such threats in less than two months.

Among the affected JCCS are Asheville, North Carolina, and Davie, Florida, both of which were evacuated to local churches, as well as JCCs in York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Indianapolis, Indiana; Tarrytown and Staten Island, New York, Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Birmingham, Alabama; and Wilmington, Delaware. Jewish day schools in Rockville, Maryland; Fairfax, Virginia; and Davie, Florida, outside Miami, were also evacuated after receiving bomb threats.

Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network (SCN), told JTA shortly after reports of the bomb threats began coming in that his organization was working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to identify the perpetrators and stop the threats. SCN is an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America that advises Jewish groups and institutions on security. SCN also is working closely with the Anti-Defamation League, Goldenberg said.

Calling the continued threats “disturbing,” he said they are “impacting the lives of our communities out there.”

Goldenberg also said the Jewish institutions are “behaving in an exemplary manner” in the wake of the threats.

“Our Jewish schools and our JCCs continue to train for this, continue to execute well-placed measures,” he said, going on to praise the staffs of U.S. Jewish institutions as being “vigilant.”

No actual bombs have been found at any of the dozens of institutions that have received bomb threats in recent weeks.

“The goal of these people is to wear us down,” Goldenberg said. “But we are back in our schools, we are back in our JCCs.”

Some 60 JCCs and Jewish schools – including one in Canada – have received nearly 70 bomb threats since Jan. 9, forcing the evacuation of hundreds, including preschool children, from the buildings.

This story has been updated to reflect a much greater number of Jewish institutions that received bomb threats on Monday.


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