Threats Lead to Evacuations of Main Line, Cherry Hill, Wilmington Jewish Community Centers - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Threats Lead to Evacuations of Main Line, Cherry Hill, Wilmington Jewish Community Centers

Police respond to JCCs in various states amid threats against Jewish communities

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    A threat caused the evacuation of the Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey Monday morning. (Published Monday, Feb. 27, 2017)

    Three Philadelphia area Jewish Community Centers were evacuated Monday morning due to threats that targeted more than one dozen JCCs around the country.

    Cherry Hill Police investigated after the Katz JCC on Springdale Road was evacuated around 10:40 a.m. The JCC said the building was safely cleared and police said they reopened to building -- after a full sweep -- around 12:30 p.m.

    The Cherry Hill incident played out after the Siegel JCC on Garden of Eden Road in Wilmington, Delaware was evacuated around 9:50 a.m., New Castle County Police said. After nearly two hours, the all was given and people returned to the Wilmington JCC.

    U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., was at the JCC when the threat came in.

    "Today, I met with leadership of the Jewish Federation of Delaware and Jewish Community Services at the Siegel JCC in Wilmington to talk about threats and violence toward the Jewish community here and around the nation," Carper said. "The community center was among many around the country that has received multiple bomb threats in the past several months that have put the entire community on edge, and today, while we were talking about this very subject there, another bomb threat was called in. It is heartbreaking for such a flash of fear to overtake a place of strong community and joy that brings together people of all ages under one roof -- from the babies in the day care center to the senior citizens taking part in exercise classes. These acts must end."

    The threats didn't end as one also hit Jewish people on the Main Line. The Robert J. Wilf Preschool kindergarten at Kaiserman JCC on Haverford Avenue in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania received a phoned threat Monday morning, administration said.

    Police officers and least one K-9 could also be seen responding to the Kaiserman JCC shortly before noon while kindergartners were held in a nearby Friends school. Police eventually gave the all clear and the JCC returned to normal operations, administration said.

    No one was hurt in any Philly-area incident.

    The Harrisburg and York JCCs in Pennsylvania were also evacuated Monday morning. The JCC Association, which represents JCCs, day schools and other Jewish organizations said they were aware of bomb threats at various locations.

    The JCCs offer Jewish programming and often serve as gym facilities for the community at large.

    These incidents are just the latest in a slew of antisemitic incidents around the country. Dozens of JCCs around the country were evacuated after a slew of threats in recent weeks. And, hundreds of headstones were also toppled at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia over the weekend.

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf responded to the acts against the Jewish community.

    "Any antisemitic act or act of intimidation aimed at Jewish institutions and people in Pennsylvania is truly reprehensible and we must find those responsible and hold them accountable," Wolf said. "This is not who we are as Americans or Pennsylvanians. We will not take these threats and acts lightly and I have asked the Pennsylvania State Police and Office of Homeland Security to offer their full resources towards protecting these institutions and finding those responsible."