South Portland Congregation Bet Ha’am was searched by police after a bomb threat was emailed to the organization on Sunday morning, according to the temple’s Rabbi.
Religious classes are usually held at the congregation on Sundays, so the building was evacuated immediately.
According to Rabbi Jared Saks, police determined the threat to be a hoax after they searched the building. At this time, we’re still waiting for confirmation from police, but according to Saks similar threats were emailed to other synagogues across the state on Sunday.
Saks says the threat is part of a concerning rise in antisemitism.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of anxiety around it, especially with the rise in antisemitism that we’re seeing across the country and even around the world these days,” Saks said. “But we’re grateful for our relationships with our neighbors and with the South Portland Police Department.”
After the building was cleared, children in the congregation returned to their religious classes as usual.
“Knowing that we’re secure now when we have a number of security measures in place all of the time, some that congregants and community are aware of and others that we keep confidential, we’re going to proceed as usual,” Saks said.