A Valley synagogue was the target of a hoax bomb threat on Monday.
The Ohev Beth Sholom synagogue received the bomb threat early in the work day, prompting an investigation from the OBS team, Youngstown Police Department, and Federation security team. They quickly deemed the threat not credible.
Sarah Wilschek, Executive Director at OBS, says at no point were congregants or others in the synagogue in any danger. There is also no active threat o the congregation.
“We understand that such situations are unsettling, but we want to reassure you that the safety and security of our congregation remain our top priority,” added Wilschek. “We will continue to remain vigilant and work closely with local authorities to ensure the security of our facility.”
Officials from the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation issued a joint statement on the threat, highlighting the recent uptick in swatting activities against the Jewish community. Swatting is considered “the action or practice of making a threat in an attempt to bring about the dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address.”
“Though the increase of these threats is disconcerting, we have no reason to believe there is any credible threat to our local community,” said Andrew Lipkin, Youngstown Area Jewish Federation CEO, and Bonnie Deutsh Burdman, Executive Director of Community Relations and Government Affairs. “We will continue to work closely with local and federal partners to address these threats.
“The safety of the entire Jewish community is of utmost importance to us.”