For the second time in one month, multiple Jewish Community Centers across the country received bomb threats. After evacuations and a search of each of the 27 facilities, the threats were deemed a hoax.
At least 27 JCCs, including this JCC in Overland Park, Kansas, were evacuated on Wednesday due to bomb threats. Police did not find bombs in any of the JCCs. This was the second wave of bomb threats to hit JCCs in January. (Photo by Katie Ferrell.)
Bomb threats were received on Wednesday at 27 Jewish community centers in 17 states, causing evacuations of the JCCs, according to a media release from the JCC Association. The JCCs, many of which have wellness and fitness centers within them, were evacuated after the threats were received, but no bombs were found at any of the centers.
The wave of threats was the second in one month against JCCs around the country. On Jan. 8, 16 JCCs in nine states received bomb threats. No bombs were found at any of those JCCs either.
Police have not determined who called in the threats or determined if it was the same person.
The JCC Association's release did not list the JCCs that received the bomb threats, but media reports from around the country show threats at JCCs in the following cities:
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Creve Coeur, Missouri
- Detroit, Michigan
- De Witt, New York
- Edison, New Jersey
- Foster City, California
- Manhattan, New York
- Miami Beach, Floria
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Newton, Massachusetts
- Orlando, Florida
- Overland Park, Kansas
- Palm Beach, Florida
- Portland, Maine
- San Rafael, California
- Scotch Plains, New Jersey
- St. Louis Park, Minnesota
- West Bloomfield, Michigan
- West Hartford, Connecticut
- Wilmington, Delaware
- Worchester, Massachusetts
- Woodbridge, Connecticut
The JCC Association of North America's press release praised the JCC professionals who relied on established best practices and continue to collaborate with law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and well-being of all who use and benefit from their facilities.
David Posner, director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America, who helps to advise local JCCs on security policies and practices, issued the below statement on Wednesday:
“In the wake of last week’s calls, JCCs were well-prepared for the calls received today. Many JCC leaders took part in a webinar organized quickly by JCC Association, featuring officials from SCN (Secure Community Network) and the Department of Homeland Security to address concerns and procedures. Lessons learned and best practices discussed were clearly on display this morning, and we applaud our JCCs for responding calmly and efficiently. Many JCCs not affected last week took the opportunity to review their own security plans, and speak with local law enforcement.
“Again, we appreciate the quick and thorough response from federal and local law enforcement. The JCCs that have received the all-clear and been deemed safe have resumed regular operations, and staff and participants are back enjoying the JCC programs they know and love—and rely on for valuable community programming and projects.
“While we’re extremely proud of our JCCs for professionally handling yet another threatening situation, we are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats. While the bombs in question are hoaxes, the calls are not. We know that law enforcement at both the local and national level are continuing to investigate the ongoing situation. 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 JCC Association partners with Secure Community Network, which was established after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to focus on security for Jewish institutions throughout North America, as it develops action plans and provides guidance, recognized practices and research to local JCCs.