Bomb Threats and Anti-Semitism: Our Response

March 2, 2017 | Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

We have all heard the disturbing news.

Since January, there have been well over 100 threats made against Jewish institutions in 33 states through anonymous emails and telephone calls. Two historic Jewish cemeteries were maliciously desecrated over the past week. Millions of anti-Semitic posts and tweets have been aimed at Jewish journalists and public figures. Swastikas have appeared on buildings, sidewalks and cars across the nation.

Our own community has not been immune. Both the JCC and Hillel Day School were targeted with bomb threats. Our neighbors in Ann Arbor received their second bomb scare earlier this week.

Authorities are not yet certain if the ongoing threats have been coordinated or who is responsible. We can be sure, however, that their intent is to sow fear throughout the Jewish community and to undermine our institutions using terror and intimidation. While there has been no actual danger, the threats constitute a serious and deeply concerning assault on Jewish society and people across America.

The Federation’s first responsibility is for the safety of our children and other vulnerable individuals. We are very fortunate to have one of the most capable and robust Federation Community Security Departments in the nation. This team is working in a close and ongoing partnership with local and national law enforcement, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, and together they are diligently ensuring the protection of our schools and campuses. Our response to the recent bomb scares was orderly and thorough, and only enhanced our confidence in our security measures. We want to assure the community that there is no reason to feel unsafe.

Beyond this, how should we respond to these despicable and cowardly actions? The answer is simple.

Collectively, the most important thing we can do is to maintain the life of our vibrant community. We must continue to support and cherish our congregations and day schools, our JCC and all the other institutions that sustain Jewish life in metro Detroit. We will not be discouraged or intimidated, and together we will confront hatred and anti-Semitism with our indomitable passion for our unique heritage, culture and community.

In the coming months, the Jewish Federation and other organizations will be hosting a variety of programs that address the issue of anti-Semitism. Topics will cover both local and overseas trends, and range from the recent threats in our community to the enduring legacy of the Holocaust. Please look out for these upcoming events in your inbox and join us in exploring these critical and important challenges.

We would also like to gratefully acknowledge the Federation Community Security Department, as well as the administrative and security teams at our schools and organizations that perform daily with extraordinary commitment and professionalism. In particular, we would like to recognize the staffs of the JCC and Hillel Day School who handled difficult situations in an exemplary manner, making us all proud. As we have seen during difficult times in the past, those events that challenge us also serve to remind us that we have an extraordinarily strong and cohesive community.

The Jewish Federation and its local and overseas partner agencies will continue to serve and support our Jewish community, whether we are confronting threats and difficulties or celebrating our many blessings and successes.

Sincerely,

Lawrence A. Wolfe, President, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

Benjamin F. Rosenthal, President, United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit

Scott Kaufman, Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

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