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Jewish center bravely reopens amid bomb threats

Jewish cultural centers all over the U.S. have been receiving threats

The Louis J. Wolk Jewish Community Center in Rochester New York reopened just a few hours after closing on Sunday in the wake of repeated bomb threats.

Sunday’s emailed bomb threat was second threat made against the center in a week, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Jewish centers in Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Vancouver, British Columbia reported receiving threats on Sunday as well.

The center’s Executive Director Arnie Sohinki told the Democrat and Chronicle that it was hosting community members displaced due to a windstorm related power outage when the most recent threat was received on Sunday morning. Members were forced to evacuate the center until receiving an all-clear from local law enforcement.

Sunday’s threats came in during the Jewish festival Purim, which occurred from Saturday night through Sunday.

According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, authorities are investigating the recent threats as hate crimes; part of a recent wave of threats and vandalism targeting Jewish facilities nationwide.

Sohinki declined to comment further on the incidents, citing the ongoing police investigation.

A post on the center’s Facebook page reads, in part, “We are open. We will remain open. Whoever is doing this doesn’t realize this only makes us #stronger. All are welcome to join us at the JCC.”

According to their Facebook page, the center is a fitness and recreation center offering “programs and services for all ages, including arts and cultural programs, adult education and classes, professional theatre…celebrations of Jewish holidays and traditions, interfaith programs, and activities for older adults.”

 

Photo: Associated Press