Bomb Threats Called in to Jewish Community Centers in West Hartford, Woodbridge

Jewish Community Centers in 17 states received bomb threats on Wednesday, including one in West Hartford, one in Woodbridge and one and one at a synagogue.

All locations were evacuated, including the Ezra Academy which is inside the B'nai Jacob Synagogue in Woodbridge. 

Nearly  200 preschool children and staff members were evacuated from the Mandell JCC in West Hartford after a woman called around 9:30 a.m. and said there was a bomb in the building.

"We received a suspicious phone call. It was deemed a bomb threat," Renee St. Louis, marketing director for Mandell JCC, said.

"We housed a lot of people in police cruisers. A lot of staff used their own cars as well," Lt. Eric Rocheleau said. 

People were allowed back into the building after police searched it and determined the threat was not credible.

While the search was underway, preschool children were moved to the Hebrew Home, but everyone was allowed back inside the JCC around 10:30 a.m.

The JCC of Greater New Haven, in Woodbridge, was also evacuated after a woman called in a bomb threat at 9:22 a.m. and said a bomb is in the building, according to the a senior staff member. 

Police responded to the scene and have cleared it.

Several Jewish Community Centers around the country also received threats last week

JCC Association of North America said in a statement that several JCC leaders took part in a webinar that featured officials from SCN (Secure Community Network) and the Department of Homeland Security to address concerns and procedures.

"Lessons learned and best practices discussed were clearly on display this morning, and we applaud our JCCs for responding calmly and efficiently. Many JCCs not affected last week took the opportunity to review their own security plans, and speak with local law enforcement," JCC Association of North America said in a statement.

“While we’re extremely proud of our JCCs for professionally handling yet another threatening situation, we are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats. While the bombs in question are hoaxes, the calls are not. We know that law enforcement at both the local and national level are continuing to investigate the ongoing situation. We are relieved that no one has been harmed and that JCCs continue to operate in a way that puts the safety of their staff, visitors, and premises first," the statement from JCC Association of North America says.

It's not clear whether the bomb threats are connected.

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