A Jewish center on Staten Island was evacuated Monday morning after it received a bomb threat – one of several JCCs targeted in the New York City area and around the country over the course of several hours, according to reports.
The call to the JCC on Manor Road in Sea View was made about 9:30 a.m., prompting other centers in Arden Heights and Tompkinsville to shelter as police investigated, spokeswoman Ruth Lasser told the Staten Island Advance.
Bomb threats also forced the evacuations of Jewish centers in Plainview on Long Island, as well as in New Rochelle and Tarrytown in Westchester County, according to reports.
Threats also were made Monday in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to the JCC Association of North America.
“Anti-Semitism of this nature should not and must not be allowed to endure in our communities. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out – and speak out forcefully – against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country,” according to David Posner, director of strategic performance at the New York City-based JCC group.
Gov. Cuomo called the anti-Semitic incident “reprehensible” – saying they were not limited to the Jewish community.
“They are assaults on all New Yorkers and I vow that we will do everything in our power to catch those responsible for this wave of hate crimes,” he said in a statement.
“I am ordering the State Police to work with our federal and local law enforcement partners to investigate these threats and apprehend those responsible.”
A worker at the Joan and Alan Bernikow JCC at 1466 Manor Road on Staten Island received a short call from a person who said a bomb would go off in two hours, Lasser told the paper.
The staffer reported the call to her supervisor, who then alerted David Sorkin, head of the Bernikow Center. He then called the NYPD.
“This seems to be what’s going on across the country,” Lasser told the paper. “It’s very disturbing. It seems that this is part of the pattern and this time we are included.”
In Nassau County, the Mid-Island Y JCC on Manetto Hill Road received the phoned threat at 9:24 a.m., Newsday reported. The building was evacuated as cops searched inside, police said.
In Westchester, Tarrytown police were called to the JCC on the Hudson at 371 S. Broadway at 9:13 a.m., Lt. John Barbelet told The Post.
“There is a nursery school and the staff evacuated the building,” he said. “We set up a perimeter and called the Westchester County bomb squad, which responded with canines. We searched with their assistance and nothing was located.”
He said the FBI was called to take part in the probe.
In New Rochelle, police responded about 11 a.m. to a bomb threat called in to the Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester at 999 Wilmot Road, which also was evacuated.
The all-clear was given at 12:45 p.m. after no devices were found, Sgt. Kyle Wilson said.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester) told The Post that her office also has been in touch with local police and the FBI.
“We will not allow hatred, bigotry, or anti-Semitic violence to terrorize our families or our community,” she said.
The latest incidents come in the wake of threats that forced the evacuations of JCCs on Jan. 31, including in Albany, Boulder, Colo., White Fish Bay, Wis., and La Jolla, Calif., USA Today reported.
They also come on the heels of vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia over the weekend.
A man visiting Mount Carmel Cemetery on Sunday called police to report that three of his relatives’ headstones had been knocked over and damaged. The discovery came less than a week after similar vandalism in Missouri.
Police said about 100 additional headstones were knocked over, apparently sometime after dark Saturday. Police were conducting a criminal mischief-institutional vandalism investigation.
“For the second time in a week, a group of cowards vandalized a Jewish cemetery, desecrating the resting place of people who could not defend themselves,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “We call upon the White House to do more than speak words about anti-Semitism. We demand a plan of action.”
Fourteen centers in 10 states plus a Canadian province received threats last month, according to the JCC Association of North America.
Threats also had been made against 27 centers in 17 states on Jan. 18 and against 16 centers in nine states on Jan. 9.
Cuomo said his administration last week announced a $25 million grant program to boost safety and security at New York’s schools and day-care centers at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or missions.
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