(NEW YORK: Jan. 18, 2017) – A wave of bomb threats this morning caused 27 Jewish community centers in 17 states to quickly engage in security protocols to ensure the safety of their participants and facilities. Many have already received the all-clear from local law enforcement, with whom they are working closely, and have resumed regular operations. This is the second time this month that multiple JCCs have received bomb threats in a single day.
The calls are similar to those received by JCCs last week when 16 centers in nine states received fake bomb threats, causing many evacuations and a disruption to normal operations. JCC Association of North America 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:
“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.
“JCC Association’s first priority is safety and supporting Jewish community centers and their members across the continent, so that they can fulfill their missions as inclusive, engaging community gathering places and safe spaces.”
JCC Association continues to partner 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.
ABOUT JCC ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA:
JCC Association of North America strengthens and leads JCCs, YM-YWHAs and camps throughout North America. As the convening organization, JCC Association partners with JCCs to bring together the collective power and knowledge of the JCC Movement. JCC Association offers services and resources to increase the effectiveness of JCCs as they provide community engagement and educational, cultural, social, recreational, and Jewish identity building programs to enhance Jewish life throughout North America. By supporting the 25,000 Jewish communal professionals who connect with two million JCC participants each year—JCC Association encourages engaged lives of purpose and meaning. Learn more at jcca.org, on Facebook and on Twitter at @JCCA