As many as 25 Jewish groups across the U.S. received anonymous bomb threats by telephone Wednesday. This is the second time in two weeks that Jewish community centers and schools have been targeted with such threats. From the Jerusalem Post:
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 there were bomb threats called in Wednesday to Jewish community centers, schools and other institutions in Miami; Edison, New Jersey; Cincinnati; Alabama, and on the West Coast. News reports also cited threats in Albany, New York; Nashville; suburban Boston and Detroit; West Hartford, Connecticut, and the Orlando area.
The Jerusalem Post reports the number of threats received today is at least 18, but the Jewish Telegraphic Agency is reporting the number is at least twenty-five. In Albany, New York a Jewish Community Center was closed to allow bomb-sniffing dogs to verify the building was safe. Adam Chaskin, the center’s Executive Director, told the Times Union, “We can’t let people who want to create fear rule our lives.”
In Nashville, Tennessee another community center was evacuated for about an hour Wednesday morning which police investigated the threat. Mark Freedman, the executive director of the center, told the Tennessean, “I think this is just a continuing pattern of what I would call telephone terrorism, attempting to disrupt, create anxiety and fear in our constituents.” He also had a message for the people making the threats. “You’re not going to succeed. We’re going to be resolute and strong and we will do what we have to do to protect our constituents, but we’re not going to cave into these threats,” he said.
This is the second time a wave of threats has been made against Jewish groups. Last Monday approximately 16 groups received calls making bomb threats. From the New York Times last week:
The morning rush at the Jewish community center in Columbia, S.C., had subsided when the phone rang on Monday. The caller, an elderly-sounding woman, “in a loud screaming voice kept saying there’s a bomb,” said Barry A. Abels, the center’s executive director.
At roughly the same time, a woman dialed the Jewish community center in Rockville, Md., nearly 500 miles away, and said there was a bomb. Not long after, a man called a Jewish organization in Wilmington, Del. He, too, warned of a bomb.
So far no actual bombs have been found but the FBI has been in contact with local law enforcement agencies that responded to the individual threats. Obviously it doesn’t take many people to make threats like this. Hopefully those responsible will be identified and arrested soon.
This local news report describes the threats received last Monday: