Bomb threats hit at least 29 JCCs across North America, including Calgary JCC

Police blocking off streets around the JCC in Harrisburg, Pa., Feb. 27, 2017. (CBS 21 News)

(JTA) — At least 29 Jewish community centers and Jewish day schools across North America, including the Calgary JCC, received bomb threats on Monday February 27, 2017 in the latest wave of threats to hit Jewish institutions.

As in the other cities, the bomb threat in Calgary proved to be unfounded. The Calgary Police Service was immediately alerted and officers arrived on site quickly. Staff followed emergency procedures and closed the building in the interest of safety, The building was swept by JCC and Federation staff as well as police and nothing untoward was found.

“It appears that there was never any real threat to the safety and security of those present, but as always we remain vigilant and cautious,” stated the JCC leadership. “We will continue to follow-up with law enforcement and the JCC will open as usual tomorrow morning.’

The recent incidents are the fifth wave of such threats across North America in less than two months, in which 100 bomb threats have been called in to 83 Jewish institutions in 33 U.S. states and two Canadian province, according to the JCC Association of North America.

All affected institutions were cleared and resumed normal operations as of the evening of Fe. 27, according to the JCC Association of North America.

Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network, told JTA shortly after reports of the bomb threats began coming in that his organization was working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to identify the perpetrators and stop the threats. SCN is an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America that advises Jewish groups and institutions on security. SCN also is working closely with the Anti-Defamation League, Goldenberg said.

Calling the continued threats “disturbing,” he said they are “impacting the lives of our communities out there.”

Goldenberg also said the Jewish institutions are “behaving in an exemplary manner” in the wake of the threats.

“Our Jewish schools and our JCCs continue to train for this, continue to execute well-placed measures,” he said, going on to praise the staffs of U.S. Jewish institutions as being “vigilant.”

No actual bombs have been found at any of the dozens of institutions that have received bomb threats in recent weeks.

“The goal of these people is to wear us down,” Goldenberg said. “But we are back in our schools, we are back in our JCCs.”

The JCC Association of North America urged federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators of the hoaxes.

“Anti-Semitism of this nature should not and must not be allowed to endure in our communities,” said David Posner, director of strategic performance at the JCCA, in a statement. “The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out – and speak out forcefully – against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country.

“Actions speak louder than words,” he continued.

This article was updated on March 2, 2017.

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