The threat to the Brighton facility is among more than 100 threats to Jewish centers across the country
BRIGHTON — The Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester was closed Tuesday morning due to a bomb threat.
The JCC, located on Edgewood Avenue, received a bomb threat Tuesday morning. The center was evacuated around 6 a.m., and around 75 to 80 people were ushered out of the building at that time.
Monroe County sheriff's deputies, Brighton Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation responded. An FBI spokesperson said they are looking into the potential that the Brighton JCC threat is connected to nationwide threats.
The building had been cleared and reopened at 10 a.m. The daycare also reopened at noon.
“This is kind of where we are in society and it's unfortunate and it's sad, but it's not going to change my day,” said Cheryl Fleitman, a parent bringing her child to the daycare.
“As we were driving here I thought 'should I be worried?' But I feel confident that they've taken the measures they've needed to make sure it's safe here today,” said Chandee Searcy, another preschool parent.
Courtney Rogaski, who teaches preschool at the JCC, said staff have been through training for bomb scares. Each classroom has a folder that tells them what to do and who to call. She says they practice evacuations.
The JCC in Dewitt, just outside Syracuse, was also put on lockdown Tuesday. The Dewitt JCC was put in lockdown twice in January due to bomb threats.
An e-mail threat was also sent to the JCC on Tuesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That brings the total to more than 100 threats to Jewish facilities in 33 states since the start of the year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for an investigation into the bomb threats.
"I am directing the New York State Police to coordinate with federal and local law enforcement to launch a full investigation into these latest incidents to ensure that the perpetrators of these reprehensible crimes are held fully accountable for their actions,” Cuomo said. “State Police are on the scene at all three incidents and are continuing to assist federal and local officials as well as JCC membership and staff and ADL local affiliates.”
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer released the following statement regarding the bomb threat:
“These perpetrators terrorizing Jewish communities in Rochester and across the country should not be allowed to hide in the shadows. That is why I pushed the FCC to grant a special emergency waiver to targeted JCCs so they could trace threatening calls.
"This waiver will be a valuable tool to track down and identify perpetrators making threatening calls that frighten communities and waste the precious resources of local law enforcement. I stand united with the members of the Jewish community in Rochester — and with every community across America targeted by hate — against fear, intolerance and intimidation.”
Senators Joe Robach (R-C-I, Rochester), Rich Funke (R-C-I, Fairport), Patrick Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), Pam Helming (R-C-I, Canandaigua), Rob Ortt (R-C-I, North Tonawanda), and Michael Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) issued the following joint statement:
"The Monroe County Senate Delegation today stands united in support of the JCC of Rochester and the Town of Brighton in Senator Robach's 56th District. Whether this event, like others across the country, was a true threat or cruel prank does not matter. It does matter that this community stands up to say there is no place in this region, this state, or this nation for religious hatred that targets innocent children at a daycare center. That's morally reprehensible and completely unacceptable. We are adding our voices to Leader Flanagan's call for stiffer penalties for this type of crime and will be working to see that legislation through to passage in the days to come."