Another Wave of Bomb Threats Targets Jewish Centers, ADL Offices

Dozens of Jewish facilities around the country have been threatened this year

What to Know

  • Dozens of Jewish facilities in 30 states have been evacuated over the last few months after receiving similar threats
  • A man was arrested in connection with eight of the threats last week, but prosecutors say he's a copycat who used the pattern as a cover
  • No injuries have been reported in any of the cases and no devices have been found; the FBI is assisting in the investigation

Another wave of bomb threats targeted Jewish community centers Tuesday, with facilities in New York, Florida, Wisconsin and Illinois ordering brief evacuations and the Anti-Defamation League tweeting several of its offices had gotten threats.

It's the latest in a string of threats that has prompted evacuations of dozens of facilities in more than 30 states in recent months.

The ADL said offices in New York, Atlanta, Boston and Washington, D.C., received threats Tuesday morning. Workers at the group's national headquarters in Manhattan said a voluntary evacuation was in effect, and dozens chose to leave. The headquarters on Third Avenue also received threatening calls and emails late last month. 

man was arrested last week in connection with one of the February threats to the ADL and threats to seven other Jewish centers, but prosecutors say he's a copycat who used the pattern as a cover in a scheme to get back at a former lover.

"It is time for action, and we call on the Administration and Congress to take concrete steps to catch those threatening the Jewish community," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

Authorities have been looking into more than 120 bomb threats called into nearly 100 JCC schools, child care and other similar facilities across the nation since January. No injuries have been reported in any of the cases and no devices have been found. The FBI is assisting in the probe.

Tuesday's wave of threats targeted a half-dozen Jewish organizations across the country, including the ADL, NYPD Police Commissioner James O'Neill said. 

The Louis S Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester in Monroe County received a threat overnight and sent an email to employees and members around 6 a.m., multiple reports said. According to NBC affiliate WHEC, about 80 people in the building at the time had to leave as investigators swooped in.

The nature of the threat wasn't immediately clear. Authorities deemed the center safe by 9:30 a.m.; it reopened shortly thereafter.

"I am aware that there are other JCC facilities across the country that have received the same or similar-type threats," Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson said during a morning briefing, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. "We will work with the FBI to see if this was a similar type threat."

A Jewish center in Milwaukee was also evacuated after receiving a bomb threat Tuesday. That facility was also cleared; the group said it was the third threat targeting the center in the last month. There was a report of one Jewish center in Onondaga County's DeWitt being evacuated and another in Chicago. And NBC Miami reported David Posnack Hebrew Day School in Davie, Florida, was evacuated for the second time in a week after receiving a threat.

A Jewish day school at a temple in Framingham, Massachusetts, was also briefly evacuated over a phone threat.

Evan Bernstein, regional director of the ADL, condemned the new wave of threats in a brief statement Tuesday. Like Greenblatt, he called on the Trump administration to take concrete steps to stop the threats.

All 100 U.S. senators signed a letter Tuesday urging the administration to do the same.

“These cowardly acts aim to create an atmosphere of fear and disrupt the important programs and services offered by JCCs to everyone in the communities they serve, including in our states,” the senators wrote. “We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs, many of which are institutions in their communities."

A week ago, President Donald Trump suggested the spate of threats could be part of a politically motivated effort to "make people look bad."

He has more broadly condemned the rash of hate crimes that have peppered the country since the presidential election. 

Contact Us