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New Jersey Jewish Community Center Evacuated After Bomb Threat

Update June 10th: The JCC is reporting a second bomb threat has been made; the watchdog StopAntisemitism tweeted the – ‘JCC cited other “reported incidents” at Jewish institutions in Philadelphia and New York but details were unavailable’.

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A bomb threat on Tuesday morning forced children and others to evacuate the Katz Jewish Community Center Tuesday. The building was searched by law enforcement officers and re-opened at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“While we are relieved that this threat was unfounded, we are concerned about the antisemitism behind these threats and the repetition of threats intended to interfere with day-to-day life,” said Jennifer Dubrow Weiss, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey.

The threat followed other antisemitic incidents in December, when swastikas were found on parking-lot signs at Temple Adath Emanu-El in Mount Laurel and in a Marlton Middle School bathroom.

Law enforcement officers and recent training for the Katz center’s staff contributed to an orderly evacuation on Tuesday, said Oded Kraus, the facility’s director.

He noted youngsters taking part in an early childhood program were escorted to an evacuation site during the 8:30 a.m. incident.

The JCC also received “great assistance” from staffers at other agencies of the Jewish Federation, he added. “Our centers have in place security protocols to ensure the safety of their program participants, facility visitors, and all staff,” said Dubrow Weiss.

The Federation also provides security assessments to support synagogue seeking state and federal grants for security upgrades. It also offers security training and resources to all community institutions, according to William “Bud” Monaghan, the federation’s regional director of security.

One township synagogue, Congregation Sons of Israel on Cooper Landing Road, received planning board approval in January to add bullet-resistant doors as part of an improvement project.

The temple also plans to add a canopy to shelter a security team outside its building.

The Katz Community Center also was evacuated during a December 2017 incident, when bomb threats were made to multiple Jewish institutions across the country.