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Temple in Oklahoma Evacuated Following Bomb Threat

Oklahoma City Police investigated a bomb threat on Monday at a Jewish house of worship.

Temple B’nai Israel, , 4901 N Pennsylvania, received a threat via email about a possible explosive device about 8 a.m. Monday, Oklahoma City Police Capt. Valerie Littlejohn said.

“We responded, the building was evacuated and we checked the building and nothing was found,” Littlejohn said.

Rabbi Vered Harris, spiritual leader of Temple B’nai Israel, said the temple congregation was sent an email on Monday to share information about the threat, specifically that law enforcement believed the incident to be part of a nationwide campaign to frighten the Jewish community.

“Our staff acted quickly to follow protocol. Law enforcement was immediately notified, the building was evacuated, and preschool was cancelled. After an onsite investigation, law enforcement cleared our building and the threat was confirmed a hoax,” Harris said in her email to the congregation. The rabbi also told temple members that Secure Community Network (SCN) reported that there were 199 similar threats across 17 states on Sunday.

“As antisemitic incidents rise around the globe, we are grateful for the Oklahoma City Police Dpeartment, OSBI, FBI, our congregational security team, and the diligence of our staff,” Harris said in her letter.

“In difficult times we band together to remain strong. We focus on the beauty of our tradition: mitzvot, acts of lovingkindness, prayer, and community. Above all, we pray for the world to know peace.”

The Secure Communities Network that Harris referred to in her letter is the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America. In a news release, the organization’s leaders said in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Secure Community Network saw an “unprecedented uptick in incident reports.”

“A historic number of incident reports concerning Jewish safety and security is a sign of the heightened threat risk North American Jews face, and underscores the need for vigilance and preparation within our communities,” Michael Masters, the organization’s national director and chief executive officer, said.

“SCN is actively collaborating with federal, state, and local security partners, and providing Jewish institutions with up-to-date guidance, tools, and intelligence to help address the security challenges of this fluid and dynamic threatenvironment. While there are no active credible threats, we will continue to provide support, resources, and guidance to ensure that all can continue to practice Jewish lives safely and freely.”

Source: https://www.oklahoman.com/story/news/2023/12/18/bomb-threats-jewish-temple-bnai-israel-oklahoma-city-nationwide-threats/71960319007/