GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Jewish Community Centers and cemeteries are being vandalized and targeted by hoax bomb threats in at least 33 states, including Michigan.
The JCC in Ann Arbor received a call about a bomb Monday, Feb. 27, inside the Hebrew Day School -- that's the same day centers in six other states also reported threats.
"Are we more aware, or is there more of it? And I think it probably is as I said, a combination of both," said Dr. David Alfonso, the Chairman of the Board for the Grand Rapids Jewish Federation. "Obviously, it's disconcerting to see that happen anywhere in the country but especially when we're talking about a regional city, a sister city that we have partnered with from Jewish Federation from time to time."
The false bomb threat in Ann Arbor was just one of more than 100 targeting Jewish Community Centers and schools across the country.
"Anti-semitism has been around unfortunately since time immemorial, and I believe it waxes and wanes given external events in the world and the country, but I think that nobody has ever considered that it would be free of this forever," Alfonso.
According to numbers from the Grand Rapids Jewish Federation, there are roughly 2,500 Jews in West Michigan.
"We are monitoring these events, we have been in contact with both local law enforcement but also national security agencies in terms of making sure our protocols are up to date," Alfonso said.
Alfonso released a statement to the Jewish community Tuesday evening.
"It was really meant to reassure the community that although we have not received any direct immediate threats in this community; we are monitoring conditions throughout the country," Alfonso said.
Within the last year and a half, the federation has reviewed and made changes to its security measures.
"We view it as being a proactive approach to things rather than a reactive approach to things, so we are confident that it will be helpful and hopefully again not needed but certainly there," Alfonso said.
The chairman said it's reinforces the need for vigilance.
"We're fortunate to not have a specific threat at any of our institutions but we can't take these issues lying down and be complacent because fear is ultimately what this weapon is against us and if we are resolute in our beliefs and our activities, that's the best way to conquer this, these attacks," Alfonso said.
President Donald Trump addressed those threats during his speech to Congress on Tuesday, along with the vandalism of two Jewish cemeteries. He said, "While we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms."
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