Crime

New Wave Of Bomb Threats At Jewish Centers, Schools

| by Lauren Briggs

At least 16 Jewish community centers and schools across the U.S. reported on Feb. 27 that they received bomb threats in the fifth wave of anti-Semitic threats in two months.

According to the Jewish Community Centers Association, facilities in Alabama, Delaware, Florida Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina and Pennsylvania said they had received phone calls warning a bomb would go off, reports WCAU. Many centers had to evacuate and call authorities before safely re-entering the buildings.

In response, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation into what he described as "anti-Semitic attacks" across his state.

Also on Feb. 27, Jewish day schools in Virginia and Maryland reported bomb threats, though authorities found no evidence of explosives, notes the Washingtonian.

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The threats came hours after a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia was vandalized, where at least 100 headstones had been knocked over and damaged. A rabbi who passed through the Mount Carmel Cemetery said he counted 460 toppled headstones.

"This is not just a random act," said Rabbi Shawn Zevit of Mishkan Shalom, according to WCAU. "To topple so many headstones clearly is a concerted effort with intent."

The Anti-Defamation League and Fraternal Order of Police are both offering rewards totaling $13,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

"On one hand there's a sense of anger and grief, but also hope because we are seeing people coming together as sisters and brothers to show that the faith communities in Philly and in the USA will not be broken by these hateful acts," said Rabbi Yosef Goldman. "We will be stronger, and the Jewish community and the faith communities will be stronger."

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There have been more than 45 reported threats to Jewish organizations since the start of 2017, notes WCAU.

Earlier in January, a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was vandalized, and 154 headstones were damaged or toppled, reports Forward.

President Donald Trump has spoken out against the waves of threats, saying in an MSNBC interview that "anti-Semitism is horrible and it's going to stop and it has to stop," according to The Hill.

Sources: WCAU (2), Washingtonian, The Hill, Forward / Photo credit: St. Louis Park Historical Society

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