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New Rochelle Mayor Calls Jewish Community Center Bomb Threats 'Horrifying'

The JCC of Mid-Westchester and JCC on the Hudson in Tarrytown were among the Jewish community centers targeted on Monday in a nationwide wave of threats.
The JCC of Mid-Westchester and JCC on the Hudson in Tarrytown were among the Jewish community centers targeted on Monday in a nationwide wave of threats. Photo Credit: File

This story has been updated.

A pair of bomb threats to Hudson Valley Jewish community centers has sparked outrage among local officials, as a rash of anti-Semitic incidents continues to spread throughout the country.

T he Jewish Community Center on the Hudson in Tarrytown and the JCC of Mid-Westchester on the New Rochelle - Scarsdale town line were forced to evacuate on Monday after threats were called in by phone at each location.

Both threats proved unfounded, and no injuries were reported. Students and staff have all since returned to classes. The investigations into the threats are ongoing.

As many as 20 Jewish community centers in several states were reportedly targeted with threats on Monday, the fifth such wave of attacks, dating back to last month. In total, more than 150 JCC Association locations have been targeted, including more than 60 bomb threats in 2017.

“The bomb threats made today against two Jewish community centers in Westchester are hate crimes that will not be tolerated in our county," Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said. "We will not stand silent in the face of anti-Semitic acts or any other bias crimes. I join with all people of good will in condemning the bomb threats that occurred here and around the country. I have directed our Department of Public Safety to work with federal and local law enforcement agencies in every way possible to bring those responsible to justice.”

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson called the situation "horrifying," adding that "it's not surprising, given the rise in anti-Semitic incidents all around the country. We must stand together in rejecting hateful activity and speech of any kind and in affirming the right of all people in our community to live free from fear or threat."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said "We will do everything to catch those responsible for this anti-Semitic act."

According to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump “condemns any form of anti-Semitic act in the strongest terms.”

Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins called the threats “unacceptable and offensive.”

“The threats made against the Jewish Community Centers in New Rochelle and Tarrytown are unacceptable and offensive to our values as New Yorkers and Americans,” she said.

“My office has contacted the local police in each community to ensure the investigations proceed and that those who have committed these appalling and cruel crimes are held responsible. Bigotry and hatred have no place in New York or America, and we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and everyone affected by these horrific acts.”

Michael Kaplowitz, Westchester's Board of Legislators chairman, called the threats "acts of hatred and intimidation."

"I'm hopeful that our public safety officials will identify and prosecute the individuals responsible for these threats," he said. "Here in Westchester County, we will not allow threats of violence to divide us."

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman posted on Twitter that “We all have an obligation to speak out against hate."

Congresswoman Nita Lowey pledged her office’s support following the early morning threat in Tarrytown.

“My office has been in contact with local police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to offer all necessary support to the ongoing investigation and to bring the criminals responsible for this horrifying act of terrorism to justice,” she stated. “We will not allow hatred, bigotry, or anti-Semitic violence to terrorize our families or our community.”

Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein added, "Bomb threats made against Jewish Community Centers in our state will never be tolerated. This spate of anti-Semitism is troubling, and unfortunately occurring across our nation. New York will not allow hate to spread and we will hold those individuals responsible for these reprehensible actions accountable."

Local law enforcement is assisting the FBI with the investigation into the nationwide threats.

“Anti-Semitism of this nature should not and must not be allowed to endure in our communities. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out – and speak out forcefully – against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country,” David Posner, the director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America said in a statement.

“We remain grateful to local law enforcement who continue to serve our communities and ensure that our JCCs and schools remain safe and open for business as the vital community institutions they are.”

"The anonymous bomb threats made to Jewish Community Centers in New Rochelle and Tarrytown were despicable and cowardly acts," Sen. Terrence Murphy added in a statement.

"Whether they were done because of the current political climate or were part of a personal grudge, these appalling acts are completely unacceptable. They go against the values of what we stand for as a compassionate, inclusive society that embraces religious tolerance. I condemn these acts of anti-Semitism as well as any acts fueled by prejudice and hatred. I hope the perpetrators are caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the threats an “assault on all New Yorkers,” vowing to “do everything in (his) power to catch those responsible for this wave of hate crimes.”

“I share the pain and the outrage of so many New Yorkers who are affected directly and those who are picked by watching these attacks unfold,” he stated. “We will not allow anyone to intimidate or strike fear in the state of New York. The full force of government will be brought to bear in these efforts and these perpetrators will be punished.”

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