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JCCs Respond to New Wave of Bomb Threats Quickly, Effectively With Practiced Security Protocols to Keep Communities Safe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
UPDATED February 21, 2017

CONTACT:
Samantha Kupferman, West End Strategy Team
skupferman@westendstrategy.com; Office: 212-498-9300; Cell: 202-215-9260

All JCCs Impacted Return to Normal Operations
JCC Association of North America collaborating with local JCCs, law enforcement, to ensure all JCCs safely serve communities

NEW YORK – On February 20, 11 Jewish community centers received phoned-in bomb threats. This comes in the aftermath of three waves of bomb threats in January (Jan. 9, Jan. 18, and Jan. 31), resulting in, through today, 68 incidents at 53 JCCs in 26 states and one Canadian province in total. All bomb threats this year proved to be hoaxes, and all JCCs impacted have returned to regular operations.

David Posner, director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America, whose role involves advising local JCCs on security policies and practices, issued the below statement:

“On Feb. 20, 11 Jewish community centers received called-in bomb threats, which were ultimately determined to be hoaxes. Our centers have in place security protocols to ensure the safety of their program participants and facility visitors. All JCCs have now received the all-clear from local law enforcement and resumed regular operations, with a heightened level of security.

“As always, safety is our top priority, and we are continuously impressed with the JCC professionals on the ground who are relying on established best practices and strong relationships with law enforcement agencies to ensure the wellbeing of all who use and benefit from their facilities. Our JCCs are strongly rooted in communities across the country, and we will not be cowed by threats intended to disrupt people’s lives or the vital role Jewish community centers play as gathering places, schools, camps, and fitness and recreation centers.

“While we are relieved that all such threats have proven to be hoaxes and that not a single person was harmed, we are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats, and the repetition of threats intended to interfere with day-to-day life. Local JCCs serve not just the Jewish community, but the entire community. Participants from all different backgrounds come to their local JCCs for activities, Jewish cultural and religious programming, and opportunities to come together as a community.

“We are in regular communication with the FBI, which is investigating these threats, to ensure the FBI has the most updated information. We hope to hear updates from the FBI on progress very soon.

“JCC Association is coordinating updated security trainings for JCC executives and staff, to ensure that our community of professionals across the country is prepared with critical tools, resources and contacts.”

JCC Association partners with Secure Community Network, which was established after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to focus on security for Jewish institutions throughout North America, as it develops action plans and provides guidance, recognized practices, and research to local JCCs.

ABOUT JCC ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA:

JCC Association of North America strengthens and leads JCCs, YM-YWHAs and camps throughout North America. As the convening organization, JCC Association partners with JCCs to bring together the collective power and knowledge of the JCC Movement. JCC Association offers services and resources to increase the effectiveness of JCCs as they provide community engagement and educational, cultural, social, recreational, and Jewish identity building programs to enhance Jewish life throughout North America. By supporting the 25,000 Jewish communal professionals who connect with two million JCC participants each year—JCC Association encourages engaged lives of purpose and meaning. Learn more at jcca.org, on Facebook and on Twitter at @JCCA

 

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