A bomb threat called into the Jewish Community Center in Woodbridge, Connecticut on Tuesday forced the evacuation of 300 campers and other young people.
According to Fox61 News, Police investigated and found that the phone call was a hoax. There was no bomb.
The call came in at around 10 a.m to the JCC’s welcome desk. The anonymous caller made anti-Semitic comments and threatened to blow up a bomb in the building. With the current rise in anti-Semitic incidents, the center was taking no chances, reported stopantisemitism.org.
The JCC campus was evacuated. Police were contacted. FBI agents joined local and state police in the search for a potential explosive device. Three bomb-sniffing canine units brought to the scene confirmed that there were no explosives on the campus.
The building was closed on Tuesday. There were no injuries.
An email was sent by Jewish Federation CEO Judy Alperin and JCC Executive Director Scott Cohen to the families of day campers explaining the situation and summarizing the threat that forced the center’s closure.
“Safety, health, wellbeing and security of our campers and staff are our utmost priority. We appreciate your cooperation today as we worked together to safely respond to a possible threat situation,” they wrote.
They added, “We will continue to remain vigilant and keep you posted with any updates.”
Steven Ginsburg, the director of the ADL’s Connecticut region, said in a statement that they are grateful to law enforcement for their quick response to the threat.
“We have seen bomb threats in the past against the New Haven JCC, and Connecticut passed a hate crimes law focused on addressing these threats,” he stated. “We hope law enforcement will bring those responsible for this incident to justice, and apply the hate crimes statute as appropriate.”
He called on state and federal politicians to work together to ensure the safety of the Jewish community. “At a time of rising antisemitism both in Connecticut and nationwide, we continue to call on our state and federal elected leaders to work together to help ensure the security and safety of Jewish communal institutions, including community centers and synagogues.”
The Woodbridge JCC reopened on Wednesday.
The FBI is current working with the Woodbridge Police Department using the JCC’s phone records and testimony of the staff member who took the call.
This is not the first time a JCC has faced a bomb threat. There has been an ongoing problem of such incidents for years.
In March of 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested a man in St Louis, Missouri, who was suspected of making bomb threats to Jewish community centers and schools around the United States.
In 2020, 19 Jewish community centers nation-wide received emailed bomb threats.