Jacksonville Jewish Center Bombed; Community Meets Today on Action

A bomb blasted the stillness of the night at 12:30 this morning and blew down the doors and left a crater in the entrance to the Jacksonville Jewish Center. A few minutes later, another cache of explosives damaged an all-Negro elementary school.

Though homes in the vicinity of both buildings were damaged and many windows were smashed by shock waves, no one was injured. Anonymous telephone callers later identified themselves as members of a so-called “Confederate Union” and accepted responsibility for the deeds. One caller declared: “Every segregationist must be set free. Jews must be driven out of Florida except Miami Beach. Jews outside Miami Beach will die.”

The Jacksonville Jewish Community Council, meanwhile, scheduled a meeting for tomorrow to take stock of the situation and to plan action to prevent further attacks. Jewish groups in the city, as well as national organizations which have contacted the community council, have agreed that all statements and action will emanate through the community council where decisions will be arrived at jointly. Jews in the city were calm and there was no visible excitement as they continued about their business.

The local press has given considerable prominence to news of the blasts and non-Jewish forces in the community are expected to rally shortly to disown the “Confederate Underground.” Jewish sources in this city said the police authorities had been “very cooperative” and were bending every effort to clearing up the affair.

Recently, in one night, bombs blasted a Jewish center in Nashville and a synagogue in Miami. An anonymous caller after the Nashville night bombing also identified himself as a member of the “Confederate Underground.”

One of the calls in Jacksonville this morning was to the Florida Times Union where a reporter asked whether the bombers were connected with the Ku Klux Klan. He was told: “We’re in touch with every organization fighting for segregation–all over the state and in the South.” Among the people called by the “underground” were three rabbis, including Rabbi Sanders Tofield, spiritual leader of the center which was bombed.

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