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“Major inconvenience:” Email threat forces evacuation of JCC in Whitefish Bay — again

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WHITEFISH BAY -- The Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Whitefish Bay was shut down AGAIN on Sunday, March 12th -- targeted by another threat -- the fourth in six weeks!

"People generally feel this is a false alarm," Jay Hodin said.

But authorities were on scene again on Sunday to make sure it was. Police were parked at every entrance to the JCC while investigators were inside.

"It's a major inconvenience in people's lives," Hodin said.

The JCC was shut down after the threat was received. It reopened at noon. It was the fourth threat to the JCC since January 31st.

Email threat to JCC in Whitefish Bay (Sunday, March 12th)

"Every time it happens, people hope it's the last time," Hodin said.

Jay Hodin

Hodin said he was at the JCC during two of the four threats. He praised the law enforcement response.

"They are doing everything properly. The facility is very well-prepared, as they have been," Hodin said.

Gov. Scott Walker has said he plans to provide additional law enforcement intelligence and staffing to the Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay so it "continues to be a safe place."

"They have to do whatever they can to draw attention to this and investigate and allocate government resources. The facility can't take any chances," Hodin said.

Email threat to JCC in Whitefish Bay (Sunday, March 12th)

While details about a suspect and motive remain unknown at this point, Hodin said he won't be deterred.

"I'm a dedicated member no one is going to scare me away," Hodin said.

Email threat to JCC in Whitefish Bay (Sunday, March 12th)

The JCC in Whitefish Bay and other Jewish community centers around the nation have been targets of threats by phone and email over the last few weeks. To date, the threats have turned up nothing. The most recent threat to the JCC in Whitefish Bay (on March 7th) was resolved in just a couple of hours.

Email threat to JCC in Whitefish Bay (Sunday, March 12th)

Once again, the threat to the JCC in Whitefish Bay came on a day when we saw a wave of these threats across the country.

A Jewish community center in Rochester, New York, closed temporarily on Sunday after receiving its second bomb threat in less than a week.

The Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center was hosting community members who had lost power in their homes when the threat came in on Sunday morning, Executive Director Arnie Sohinki said.

Dozens of people were evacuated. The center reopened Sunday afternoon after receiving an all-clear from law enforcement. Sohinki said the JCC is grateful for the community's support but would not provide further details, citing the police investigation.

"We are open. We will remain open. Whoever is doing this doesn't realize this only makes us #stronger, " the center said in a Facebook post. "All are welcome to join us at the JCC."

Another email threat forces the Jewish Community Center to be shut down -- March 7th

The Rochester JCC was one of several Jewish institutions to receive a bomb threat on Sunday in the latest wave of intimidating acts targeting the Jewish community. Other locations reporting similar threats included Indianapolis Jewish Community Center in Indiana; and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. All reopened a few hours later without incident.

The threats were the latest acts in a recent wave of anti-Semitic incidents across the United States. Museums, houses of worship, advocacy groups and cemeteries have been targets of bomb threats and vandalism as federal officials work with state and local authorities to find those responsible.

Jewish Community Center safely evacuated -- February 20th

One person has been arrested in connection with a small portion of the calls. The head of police intelligence for New York City said he believes one person is responsible for most of the nationwide calls and the rest are the work of copycats. CNN was unable to confirm or corroborate his theory. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials have said they believe many of the threatening calls originated overseas.

Sunday's incidents bring the number of threats since January in the United States and Canada to 154, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

It was not the first threat for the Louis S. Wolk JCC. The center also received a bomb threat on Tuesday, March 7, the same day another center in Syracuse and the Anti-Defamation League's New York City headquarters received threats. No devices were found at the locations and the centers reopened soon after without incident.

Jewish Community Center -- Bomb threat on January 31st

Sunday's threat coincided with the Jewish holiday of Purim, a festive commemoration of the defeat of a plot to exterminate Jews in ancient Persia.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the incident "despicable and cowardly," especially on a holiday weekend celebrating "the resiliency of the Jewish people."

"Like all New Yorkers, I am profoundly disturbed and disgusted by the continued threats against the Jewish community in New York. As New Yorkers, we will not be intimidated and we will not stand by silently as some seek to sow hate and division. New York is one family, and an attack on one is an attack on all," he said in a statement.

Cuomo said he would direct state police to investigate the bomb threats in conjunction with federal officials. Last week, Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio increased a reward for information on hate crimes -- not just bomb threats -- to $20,000.

After the first bomb threat of the week, the Rochester center had opened its doors to those who lost power in a winter storm blanketing the Northeast.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, called the bomb threat "despicable" given the center's service to the community.

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