Another Wave of Bomb Threats Hit Jewish Institutions, Worrying and Uniting Communities
The Levite Jewish Community Center of Birmingham, Alabama’s mission is to “provide a welcoming, family-oriented gathering place for a diverse membership to engage in meaningful experiences of the mind, body and soul.” But they have been prevented from accomplishing this on three separate occasions since the year began. Days typically filled with children’s activities and fitness were spent evacuating the premises while law enforcement and their K9s searched for a bomb after a threat was phoned in.
The Levite Jewish Community Center experience is just one of 31 such threats that occurred on Monday, February 27 and more than 100 since January 4. No bombs have been found.
This last wave of threats hit not only community centers but Jewish day schools as well. Multiple students at David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davies, Florida, which received a bomb threat at 9:20 am yesterday, expressed fear. Parents did as well, including Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz whose own children once attended the school. One grandparent, a holocaust victim, cried when he heard the news.
The threats affect not only staff, students and members of the many schools and centers, but communities at large. Stroum Jewish Community Center in Mercer Island, Washington, which received a threat, was forced to evacuate, as was the nearby French American School of Puget Sound.
These threats add to the charged atmosphere in the United States which has seen a rise in hate incidents, including a number of anti-Semitic acts and vandalism at two Jewish cemeteries.
Communities including Birmingham are responding by further unifying with members of all faiths. An interfaith coalition of Christians, Jews and Muslims held a prayer rally at Levite Jewish Community Center this month in a show of solidarity and support for Alabama’s Jewish Community.