The JCC of Staten Island briefly evacuated its buildings on Manor Road and Arthur Kill Road on Friday following a bomb threat, the New York Jewish Week reported.
Communications Director Allison Cohen told the website that the JCC received a threatening email.
“We have to take every threat seriously,” Cohen said. “The NYPD evacuated two of our buildings. They did a thorough investigation and found it safe to return.”
She said the evacuation happened at 8:53 a.m., as parents were bringing their children to preschool.
“Our staff had to talk with the parents and explain things to them,” Cohen said. “We always try to calm everyone down and make sure we’re working hand in hand with law enforcement. It’s really that partnership that keeps us safe.”
She and David Pollack, associate executive director and director of public policy & security at the JCRC, declined to share details about the email.
The incident follows a spate of bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions in a number of states.
The threats came into Jewish community centers around the country in recent weeks, most recently in Pennsylvania and Missouri.
Other JCCs targeted have been in Oklahoma, Arizona and New Jersey. The threats come through online contact forms and have similar language.
The two most recent threats, in Missouri and Pennsylvania, both began, “I’ll be there at 12 to bomb your facility you ukranian jew filth i got bombs there now.”
Cohen called the threats a “horrible reality,” but the JCC is always prepared for it.
“We spring right into action,” she said. “We know exactly what to do because we’ve had them before.”
In 2017, bomb threats were made against a host of Jewish institutions in the US.
A St. Louis man, Juan Thompson, later pleaded guilty to cyberstalking charges for eight threats against Jewish community centers and the Anti-Defamation League, which federal prosecutors said were copycat crimes during a wave of nearly 150 bomb threats to Jewish institutions during the first three months of that year.
Nearly three weeks after Thompson’s arrest, an Israeli-American teen was arrested in Israel for allegedly making the bulk of the threats.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)