(February 24, 2020 / JNS) A Jewish community center in Albany, N.Y., and another in West Orange, N.J., were among as many as 19 JCCs that reported bomb threats on Sunday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center Sunday afternoon, where some 100 people had been inside the building when the building was evacuated.
“These types of situations are so ugly and unfortunate,” the governor said. “What’s worse is we are seeing more and more of them. We’ve had 42 incidents of anti-Semitism in this state in just the past couple of months, so it’s not getting better. It’s only getting worse.”
Those incidents included several attacks on Jews in New York City and a machete attack inside of the home of rabbi in Monsey, N.Y., that injured five people.
According to New York Director of Emergency Services Michael Kopy, law-enforcement officials in New York were notified around 11:30 a.m. of a bomb threat that was received via email. The threats to all the JCCs affected went to people with JCC email address, he said.
Among the other JCCs receiving the email threat on Sunday was the JCC MetroWest in West Orange, N.J., about 20 miles outside of New York City.
“When you threaten a JCC, it’s not just an anti-Semitic attack,” said Cuomo. “You have children who go to the JCC, you have gym facilities. You are really threatening children. I mean it’s one of the most heinous things you can do. It’s here, and it’s terror; that’s all it is.
“They are trying to create that terror, and we can’t let them do it,” he added.
Rachel Grinspan, director of community affairs at the Anti-Defamation League New York/New Jersey, said in a statement, “I think that it is very concerning and disturbing that these types of threats are being made, and we are very grateful that law enforcement takes it so seriously to be able to ensure that our communities are safe.”
The JCC in Albany has said it will resume operations on Monday morning.
Jewish organizations have been targeted by such threats before. In 2017, a wave of more than 2,000 bomb threats were made against JCCs in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Two arrests were made in connection to the spate of intimidation; eventually, a troubled Israeli teen was found guilty of being behind several of those threats.
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