San Jose Jewish facility reopens after bomb threat

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jewish Community Alliance on San Jose Boulevard reopened Monday afternoon, just over an hour after a phoned bomb threat was received.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the call was received at 11:10 a.m., and JCA management decided to evacuate the building. Police and the bomb squad responded and search the building. When no suspicious device was found, management reopened the building to staff and members, including a pre-school on the property.

"It's always unsettling when these type of things happen, but we are always prepared," JCA Executive Director Myron Flagler said

Bomb threats were also received Monday at Miami-area Jewish centers, as well as Jewish facilities in Nashville; Columbia, South Carolina; Baltimore and Rockville, Maryland; and Wilmington, Delaware. There were threats to Orlando and Tampa Jewish centers and synagogues last week.

A JSO detective said police were aware of the other threats across the country and were looking into whether there was a social media campaign coordinating them.

"To have this many in a very short time period makes me think maybe this is a planned event," News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said. "I think this is someone or a group of people trying to instill fear."

JCA members who had to stand outside for over an hour while the building was searched said the threats are not working.

"They should prosecute them when they catch them," Gene Hafford said. "I think they should go to jail."

David Posner, director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America, released the following statement Monday about the bomb threats:

“JCC Association thanks federal and local law enforcement for their quick and thorough response today. JCCs continue to work with them, as they do all year long, to ensure the continued safety of JCC members and all those who participate in JCC activities, as well as the safety of JCC buildings. As of 4:30 p.m. today, local authorities’ investigations in areas impacted have resulted in the all-clear, with most of our JCC’s resuming regular operations. We are hopeful that all of the JCCs in our vibrant network across the country will resume regular operations by the end of the day.

“We are proud of our JCCs and grateful for their professional staff, who in the face of threatened violence today, responded quickly, calmly and professionally by implementing well-practiced evacuation procedures and ensuring that no one was harmed.

“Our first priority is safety. JCC Association’s role is to support all Jewish community centers and their members across the continent, as together, we ensure that JCCs remain inclusive, engaging community gathering places and safe spaces.”

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