HOUSTON - The Houston Jewish community has been hit by another senseless bomb threat. The target, once again, is the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center in southwest Houston. Even though the threatening email was a hoax, these threats are still disconcerting and disruptive.
“We notified the Houston Police Department and they showed up and came on site," Joel Dinkin, Executive Vice President/ERJCC said. “I think people are concerned about what's happening nationally on a broader level with JCC's and all of the other Jewish organizations and institutions across North America."
Another email threat was received on Sunday by a JCC in upstate New York. It was the second time in a week that the center had to evacuate dozens of people.
“I communicate on a regular basis with my colleagues through phone and email to exchange best practices and experiences that we're all learning and sharing with what's going on," Dinkin said.
Law enforcement here and on the East Coast checked the buildings from top to bottom before giving the all clear. No explosives were found. New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo calls the latest incidents “despicable and cowardly,” especially since they happened on the Jewish holiday called Purim.
Ironically, Purim is a festival celebrating the Jews’ triumph over an evil madman thousands of years ago who hoped to annihilate the entire Jewish population. Nearly 50,000 thousand Jews live in Houston. Just like in ancient times, they hope good triumphs over evil.
Hoaxes or not, Houston's JCC will take any threat seriously.
"We have to because we don't know how to be able to differentiate it. Obviously we're concerned that a threat doesn't turn into reality," Dinkin said.
More than 120 threats have been investigated since January in over three dozen states, federal officials said.
Let's hope that these numbers start to decline very soon.