Jewish Centers In Several States, Including Pa., Evacuated Due To Threats

PHILADELPHIA (KDKA/AP) — Reports indicate that Jewish centers in several states received threats on Monday.

The JCC Association of North America says Jewish Community Centers and day schools in 11 states reported receiving bomb threats. It’s the fifth wave of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers and Jewish institutions since January.

In York, Pennsylvania, an “emergency situation” prompted the Jewish Community Center to close. A similar situation was reported in Harrisburg.

Bomb threats were also reported in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia.

According to CBS News, a U.S. law enforcement official said the threats appear to be coordinated.

Gov. Tom Wolf released a statement Monday condemning acts and threats against Jewish institutions in Pennsylvania.

“Any anti-Semitic 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. 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.”

Ultimately, no bombs were found. Officials say many of the buildings have been cleared and have returned to normal operations. The FBI is investigating.

This comes just one day after more than 100 gravestones were found damaged at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.

A local rabbi said he counted over 500 desecrated grave sites.

“I am a child of a Holocaust survivor, so I grew up with stories of destruction of Jewish cemeteries,” said one visitor to the cemetery. “I always thought we were done with that.”

One Philadelphia Jewish leader said it could be some “nudniks” vandalizing the nearest cemetery, but he added it could also be a more directed anti-Semitic act.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro promised the resources of his office, adding, “These acts are cowardly. Their perpetrators aim to spread fear, but we will stand together to ensure they fail. intimidation and threats against the people of any one faith are an affront to us all.”

“There have been an absolute rise in threats and incidents since the beginning of the year,” said Brad Orsini, director of Jewish community security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

Anti-Semitic acts are up but not here, yet, says Orsini.

“They’re happening in countless number of states right now. Again, we’re fortunate not to have that happen here in Pittsburgh.”

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(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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