Albany JCC reopens after bomb threat causes evacuation for over an hour


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10 ) — Several Jewish community centers on the East Coast received bomb threats Wednesday morning, including Sidney Albert JCC in Albany, but just like all thatcher threats, police say the call was a hoax.

It is business as usual. Police cleared the scene about two hours after the threat came in. They received the call around the same time as all of the other JCCs that had to be evacuated on Wednesday.

“No matter what the reason is, we can’t let people who want to create fear rule our lives,” Executive Director of Sidney Albert, Adam Chaskin, said.

Chaskin says nothing can deter their mission of peace at Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center.

Nearly 300 children, staff and members were evacuated after someone called in a bomb threat around 9:40 a.m.

“From who they believe was a woman, who stated there was a bomb inside the building,” Officer Steve Smith said.

K-9 units swept the building, but found nothing. Around the same time, other JCCs received similar threats. At 9:45 a.m., police evacuated a JCC in Newton, Massachusetts. Police gave the all clear one hour later.  Over in West Hartford, Connecticut, it was the same story.

A woman called the Mandell JCC at 9:30 a.m. and said there is a bomb in the bundling. Police found that too say was only a hoax. Across the country, these faux phone calls have been trying to rattle Jewish community centers.

“It’s unknown right now if it is connected to the trend going on across the nation,” Smith said. It’s certainly something that we are looking into.”

That’s why Chaskin says they planned for the possibility of this happening to them.

“There’s been various targeting of Jewish population through the years,” Chaskin said. “It’ll be foolish to think it couldn’t happen again for various reasons so from that aspect, it’s always something in the back of your mind.”

Chaskin says the center started going over safety protocols after 16 JCCs received bomb threats in one day last week. They are thankful for the quick response from police, and they won’t let this keep them from being a safe place for families.

On Thursday, Senator George Amedore released a statement, which read in part:

In a nation that is becoming increasingly divided, it is important that we stand together in unity against these hateful acts. We can have no tolerance for those who perpetrate hate crimes and use the threat of violence to instill fear and panic.

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