(JTA) — At least 10 Jewish community centers were targeted with bomb threats on Monday — the fourth time in five weeks that JCCs across the country have been targeted.
News reports indicated that threats were received on Monday morning by JCCs in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin; St. Paul; Houston; Buffalo, New York; Albuquerque, and Birmingham, Alabama. It is not known if they were live calls or recorded.
“It appears to be the same serial caller” as in the prior incidents, Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network, told JTA. SCN is an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America that advises Jewish groups and institutions on security.
Goldenberg said that some of the JCCs were evacuated and others were not.
“The JCCs are very well-equipped to handle this,” he said.
Goldenberg did not confirm where any of the threats occurred, saying they took place across the country and that his office “is monitoring the situation.”
He said the fact that the threats were made on President’s Day, when more people might be in the buildings during the daytime, does not appear to be a factor.
Last week, President Donald Trump was asked at a news conference about the wave of JCC bomb threats and what the government’s response would be to “an uptick in anti-Semitism.” Although the reporter did not suggest Trump was anti-Semitic, the president answered by denying he is an anti-Semite and called the question “insulting.”
The Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC in Whitefish Bay was evacuated at about 10:30 a.m. Monday and reopened at about 3 p.m., an hour after police and FBI officers gave the all-clear, according to local reports. A message on the JCC’s website read: “The JCC is currently closed and safely evacuated.” It was the second time in recent weeks that the Samson JCC has been evacuated due to a bomb threat.
The Jewish Community Center in St. Paul, including an early childhood program, also was evacuated on Monday morning, according to Minnesota Public Radio. The students at the center were moved to a nearby fire station while police cleared the building and investigated.
A total of 48 JCCs in 26 states and one Canadian province received nearly 60 bomb threats during January, including 17 on Jan. 31; another 30 in at least 17 states on Jan. 18, and 16 across the Northwest and South, forcing the evacuation of hundreds, on Jan. 9. All the threats have been false.