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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘JCC’

FBI on the Case of Coordinated 16 JCC Bomb Threats

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police are investigating the source of Monday’s “robocall bomb threats” to 16 Jewish community centers in nine states. So far, no bombs have been found. According to Reuters, security officials said on Tuesday that the wave of telephone bomb threats possibly came from the same number, via an automated calling system.

But Paul Goldenberg, national director of nonprofit Secure Community Network advising Jewish groups on security matters, told Reuters only a few calls used “robocalling” and the rest were made manually.

So far the FBI has not mentioned suspects, motive, or a theory as to why the callers targeted Jewish centers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and South.

“Bomb threats to Jewish communities are nothing new,” Goldenberg told Reuters. “What’s extraordinary is that we had so many in such a short period of time.”

Back in May, 2016, a wave of threats driven by automated calls were directed at schools across at least four US time zones, forcing authorities to lock down school buildings and evacuate students. Some districts reported that the calls included a bomb threat while others just described the calls as “threatening.” The calls were reported in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

Monday’s phone calls were made to JCCs in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Also on Monday, nine Jewish and non-Jewish schools across UK were put on alert after hoax bomb threats. The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “Police were alerted at around 10:30 AM hrs on Monday, 9 January, to phone calls made to schools in Roehampton, Ilford and Brent in which bomb threats were made. Police officers attended the schools. All three incidents were stood down a short time later. An investigation into the threat will be conducted.”

It is still not clear if the calls against the British and American schools were related. According to Reuters, an analysis indicated the UK calls came from separate countries.

David Israel

Bomb Threat at Jewish Community Centers (JCC) in London and America’s East Coast Cities

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Jewish community centers in a widespread number of American states were evacuated due to bomb threats on Monday morning, while across the ocean, the same phenomenon was taking place in London, England as well.

Jewish schools across the United Kingdom were placed on alert after bomb threats were called into metro London Jewish schools in Roehampton, Ilford and Brent on Monday morning. The schools were “warned” that explosive devices had been planted on the premises. Thorough searches were conducted at all three sites and other schools were placed on precautionary lock-downs until the “all clear” was received.

Bomb threats were also called in to a few non-Jewish schools as well, according to the British Jewish Chronicle news site.

“Police were alerted at around 10:30am hrs on Monday, 9 January, to phone calls made to schools in Roehampton, Ilford and Brent in which bomb threats were made. Police officers attended the schools. All three incidents were stood down a short time later. An investigation into the threat will be conducted,” Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in the United States, bomb threats were called into Jewish Community Centers (JCC)s in Delaware, Tenafly, New Jersey; Miami Beach and Jacksonville, Florida; in Rockville, Maryland; in West Nashville, Tennessee, and Columbia, South Carolina.

In Delaware, police were called to search the Siegel Jewish Community Center north of Wilmington on Monday, after a bomb threat was called into the facility at around 11:45 am. The caller reportedly said there was a bomb inside the complex, according to Seth J. Katzen, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, who spoke with Delaware Online, The News Journal.

The building was alerted, Katzen said, and everyone was evacuated from the four facilities at the site, including the JCC, the Jewish Federation of Delaware, the Albert Einstein Academy (K-5) and Jewish Family Services of Delaware. Although police arrived quickly, they told Katzen it would be “a few hours” before they could declare an “all clear.”

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the Jewish Community Center on Palisades in Tenafly sent out a text to its membership warning it had received a bomb threat shortly after 12 noon. As a precaution, officials evacuated the building, which contains a preschool, a senior center and an adult daycare facility for people with disabilities. Parents of preschoolers were asked to pick up their children and all JCC programs were canceled for the day. The “all clear” was received a short time later from the bomb squad that swept the building.

About 450 students and 70 teachers and staff members were evacuated from the Alper JCC School at SW 112th Avenue in southwest Miami-Dade as a precaution at around 11 am, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said. A second Miami-Dade Jewish Community Center was also evacuated, according to CBS Miami, which reported the threat was called in to the main operator line of the facility.

Miami Beach police also were called to the Jewish Community Center on Pine Tree, where only a handful of people were in the building at the time. A thorough search that included K-9 units turned up nothing and the “all-clear” was given. In addition, the Jewish Community Alliance building in Jacksonville, Florida was also evacuated in response to a bomb threat as well. Both were called in at around 10:45 am. Both were given the “all clear” within an hour or two, after sweeps of the buildings turned up nothing.

A woman called a bomb threat into the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville, Maryland, according to CBS News. Officials immediately evacuated the building, Executive Director Michael Feinstein said.

In West Nashville, Tennessee, metro police responded to a report at about 10:30 am of a bomb threat at the Gordon Jewish Community Center, in the 800 block on Percy Warner Boulevard. Officials quickly evacuated the 80 people who were in the building, which functions as a childcare center during the week, according to The Tennessean, part of the USA Today network. Special Agent Michael P. Knight of the Nashville field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told media the ATF is standing by to provide “technical assistance” as needed.

In South Carolina, the Columbia Fire Department and the Richland County bomb squad were also called in just before 11:30 am Monday to scan the Katie and Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center on Flora Drive in Columbia, WBTV reported. After a thorough scan of the building, nothing was found and the “all clear” was given.

This is a developing story.

Hana Levi Julian

FBI Arrests ISIS Supporter Who Wanted to Attack JCC

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

FBI agent Benjamin Trentlage said that Mahin Khan, 18, who has been charged with plotting a terrorist attack on a motor vehicle office in metro Phoenix and instructed undercover FBI informants on building homemade grenades, told an undercover FBI agent that he wanted to attack a Jewish community center in his hometown, AP reported Wednesday.

Trentlage testified that Khan expressed a desire to attack the Jewish community center in October 2015, in conversation with an undercover FBI informant. According to Trentlage, Khan wanted to use pressure cookers to make homemade bombs, inspired by the Boston Marathon bombings.

On the day of his arrest, Khan left a voicemail for an undercover FBI informant expressing his admiration for the attack that killed 49 in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Trentlage testified. The FBI has charged that Khan wanted to inspire an Islamist insurgency in the US to carry out attacks similar to the ones in Paris and Brussels, and communicated online with a member of ISIS and with a Pakistani Taliban, requesting weapons and instructions on homemade explosive. But it isn’t clear whether those really were members of the two groups.

According to Trentlage, Khan described the Motor Vehicle Department in Mesa, Arizona as a soft target, saying “it would have a lot of people and relatively low security.” Khan preferred that office over a DMV office in Tucson because the sheriff’s office was located nearby.

Agent Trentlage testified on Tuesday at a bond hearing for Khan, who pleaded not guilty to charges of terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons. Khan was denied bail following his July 1 arrest. His bond hearing continues on Wednesday, when his attorneys will probably question the FBI agent.

JNi.Media

Staten Island JCC Receives Anti-Semitic Messages over Basketball Score

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

When the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island opened its beautiful bronze doors on Victory Boulevard in 1929, its mission was to provide a home for the Jewish community for social, recreational and educational activities where people of all races and religions would feel welcome.

The JCC founders certainly did not anticipate that, 90 some years in the future, an irate individual who was terribly unhappy with the score of a youth basketball game would be sending a torrent of vicious, anti-Semitic text messages to a 53-year-old woman who takes care of the athletic program at the JCC of Staten Island.

“I am about to put the JCC back in the concentration camp,” said one message, and another spoke of “Hitler Nation,” police sources told The NY Daily News.

OK, it’s true that those 1929 JCC founders would have been equally baffled by both notions — vile text messages and concentration camps. Still, considering their high aspirations at the time, neither concept would have gladdened their hearts.

Police said the texts were reported last Friday night, and a hate crime investigation has been launched. According to the News, Police already believe they know who sent those messages, but for now the investigation is still ongoing.

JCC spokeswoman Ruth Lasser told the News the texts had been sent in reaction to a teen basketball league game at the JCC Avis/South Shore center on Arthur Kill Rd. in Arden Heights, SI, but she is not certain which specific game result got this person’s goat.

“I do know that there was a dispute of some sort that came as a result of it,” she said. “The texts that followed were about some sort of unhappiness about that game.”

That’s the Hitler Nation kind of unhappiness. Lasser said the texts were “very disturbing.”

“The JCC has a long history, sports and activities that teach you not only the programs, not only the sport, but also sportsmanship,” Lasser said. “We work very hard to make sure we instill the right values, so it is disturbing.”

JNi.Media

Three Dead in Multiple Kansas Jewish Center Shootings

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

UPDATES:  see updates at the bottom of this article.

Someone used a gun to terrorize Jews in two separate locations just outside of Kansas City, Kansas on Sunday afternoon, April 13.

The Jewish Community Center in Overland Park was the site of the first shooting incident. It happened at approximately 1:00 p.m. local time. At least one person was killed.

Shortly after the first shooting, another one took place less than a mile away, at a Jewish assisted living facility, Village Shalom. At least one person was killed at this location as well.

It is not yet known at which of the two locations the third victim was shot.

A male suspect was taken into custody. He was apprehended at a local elementary school, Valley Park Elementary, which is near the assisted living facility.

There is a report from a local news station, KCTV5, that when the suspect was led away, he was believed to be yelling, “Heil Hitler.”

Since March 8, a sniper has been terrorizing drivers in that area of Kansas, shooting at over 20 drivers. But it is not currently believed that the serial shooter is connected to the JCC center shootings.

UPDATE: The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City posted the following information at approximately 4:00 local time:

JCC Kansas City.jpgUPDATE: A press conference was held at 5:00 p.m. in Kansas City, with the Police Chief and mayor of Overland Park. The new information that was provided at the briefing revealed that five people were shot at, three were hit and all three of those died. The two victims from the Jewish Community Center were both males, a female was killed outside the Shalom Village Assisted Living facility.

The suspect is not from Kansas and was unknown to local officials prior to the shootings.

Police Chief Douglas acknowledged that the suspect made several statements while he was in custody, but would not confirm whether or not the suspect made anti-Semitic statements. At this point the shootings are  being investigated as a hate crime, but it has not yet been classified a hate crime.

UPDATE: 11:00 p.m. EST CNN is now identifying the suspect in custody is Frazier Glenn Cross.

Suspect in shooting at two Kansas Jewish centers which left three dead, April 13, 2014.

Suspect in shooting at two Kansas Jewish centers which left three dead, April 13, 2014.

Jewish Press News Briefs

D.C. Theater Retools Controversial Play about Israeli Arabs

Friday, October 11th, 2013

A Washington Jewish theater funded in part by the local Jewish federation scaled back its plans to produce a controversial play concerning how Israeli Arabs were treated when Israel became a state.

Rather than showing the entire play, Theater J instead will present “The Admission” as a workshop in which viewers will be invited to give their feedback. A spokesman for the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, which houses Theater J, said the play, by Israeli playwright Motti Lerner, will be used as a platform for discussion on how difficult subjects are treated.

Washington D.C. JCC officials told the Forward that outside pressure had nothing to do with the decision, which they said was made in part because there was no available Israeli theater to co-produce the play. In the past, Israeli plays mounted at Theater J have involved an Israeli company.

A small group known as COPMA — Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art — in an advertisement in the Washington Jewish Week and an email campaign on several Jewish listservs urged potential donors not to give to either Theater J or the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Robert Samet, COPMA’s chairman, said his group was not against showing the play and does not believe in censorship. However, he said his group was against any Jewish federation funds being used to put on the play.

Samet said the play was “essentially an effort to put into theater some of the people who rewrite the history of Israel.”

In an interview with the Forward following the announcement of the scaled-back version, Samet said he would still push to have the play canceled.

Federation officials had defended staging the play, citing free speech and as a pushback against the problems they said could ensue from the precedent of acceding to threats from a small outside group.

“The Admission” is a fictionalization of a controversy over whether Israeli troops carried out a massacre in Tantura, a small village on the coast, during the 1948-49 Israel Independence War.

JTA

What’s With NY Jewish Institutions? JCC Film Fest Dir. Pro-BDS!

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

The shocking news that the 92nd St Y’s now former director was involved in an affair and the possible cover-up of vendor shakedowns, could possibly explain the recent pattern of that institution’s promotion of celebrity proponents of economic and political warfare against Israel.  Perhaps it was simply collateral damage from a leadership gone astray.

But how to explain the New York City Jewish Community Center employing as its film programs director – that is, someone who chooses what films the New York Jewish Community is going to tout for its Jewish audience to see – someone who publicly embraces and encourages others to embrace that despicable movement known as BDS, the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against the Jewish State?

It did not require any investigative journalism to make this discovery.  The JCC’s film director, Isaac Zablocki, wrote an article touting his anti-Israel bona fides in one of the most widely-read (if frequently anti-Israel) outlets, the Huffington Post.

In an article published earlier this week titled, “Boycotting the Messenger,” Zablocki writes glowingly about the use of boycotts against Israel to punish the Jewish state for “violating the human rights of Palestinians.” He romanticizes boycotts as the paradigmatic “non-violent form of protest for centuries.”

The BDS movement fights against the normalization of the occupation of the State of Israel and pushes to exclude Israel from any international program as long as it is violating the human rights of Palestinians.

But Zablocki does not support all boycotts of Israel.  But his selective warfare against the Jewish State is not the Peter Beinart version of “beyond the Green Line is not kosher, within is kosher” style of boycott of Israel.

Nope, Zablocki, being an artiste and all (he had a one film career), is only opposed to arts and academia boycott of Israel. All other kinds of boycotts are hunky-dory.  We’ll allow him to explain it.  Here, again, from his Huffington Post article:

In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nonviolence is a welcome form of protest for the region, and the importance of the use of boycott to get international attention towards pressuring Israel to end the occupation is unquestionable. However, the protest of art, culture and education brings up dangers in the realm of freedom and evolution of thought. Artists and educators have an important impact on changing society. Their diversity of opinions plant seeds of thought and help minds grow.

Could it be that Zablocki, who grew up in Israel, but was educated at Columbia University (affectionately referred to by some as Bir Zeit on the Hudson) sees only as virtuous those in the industries he knows best?  It makes sense, in a selfish kind of way, that Zablocki would want to protect his comrades in the academic and arts industries from having their livelihoods harmed even by his favorite form of “non-violent protest.”  But businesses?  Manufacturing? Construction?  Those are for the uncultured masses.  Never mind that those are the industries in which most Arabs, especially poor Arabs, in the region are employed.  But let’s not allow that to be a consideration.

On the most fundamental level, the question has to be raised and raised repeatedly: why it is that so many institutions which are presumed to be providing services to the Jewish world, and are certainly raising their funds from Jews, are staffed by people who see their bona fides in the arts world as requiring a lusty desire to damage the Jewish State?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/whats-with-ny-jewish-institutions-jcc-film-fest-dir-pro-bds/2013/08/17/

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