Third wave of at least 17 bomb threats called in to JCCs nationwide
JTA, Jan 31 2017
At least 17 Jewish community centers across Pindostan were targeted with bomb threats in the third wave of such mass disruption this month. Paul Goldenberg of the Secure Community Network of the Jewish Federations of North America said:
The threats were called in late Tuesday morning. Some of the messages were live. In the past we know that the numbers can grow exponentially. The perpetrators have been leveraging technologies to make mass calls.
Threats were called into JCCs in Albany, NY; Syracuse, NY; West Orange, NJ; Milwaukee, Wis; San Diego, Cal; and Salt Lake City, Ut. The JCC in New Haven, Connecticut received a live call at 11:45 am Tuesday threatening violence. The JCC is housed in several locations following a Dec 5 fire, and evacuated about 100 people from those places following the call. After law enforcement determined that the threat was not credible, the evacuees returned. The New Haven JCC was also targeted in a wave of bomb threats about two weeks ago. New Haven JCC CEO Judy Diamondstein said:
We recognize that we live under a new set of circumstances that we have to be responsive to, and take every possible precaution to keep our people safe. While we are disrupted, we refuse to be daunted by this.
The JCC has drilled safety protocols extensively in order to be prepared for a situation like this. We have been diligent in looking at our security for a while now. I had a previously scheduled meeting Wednesday afternoon with an FBI officer to sharpen procedures for dealing with an active shooter.
Goldenberg said his organization was instructing the JCCs to be in touch with local police to determine if they should evacuate. The JCC MetroWest in West Orange, New Jersey announced an evacuation at 11:42 am. Goldenberg said:
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. Our Jewish community centers are focusing on security today more than ever before, and in spite of these continuous bomb threats I’m confident that our institutions are taking security seriously, and in many cases Jewish institutions are more secure than institutions frequented by the general public.
On Jan 18, some 30 Jewish institutions in at least 17 states received bomb threats. On Jan 9, such threats were called into 16 JCCs across the Northwest and South, forcing the evacuation of hundreds.