Charlotte’s Shalom Park caught in wave of threats made Monday against Jewish sites


Charlotte’s Shalom Park was among Jewish sites in as many as a dozen states that received anonymous phone threats, most of which involved bombs, Monday morning.

The Jewish Community Center in Asheville also threatened.

Media reports said the wave of threats included sites in Alabama, Michigan, Florida, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

The Jewish Community Center Association of North America sent out a statement Monday calling it “an evolving situation” with the list of affected institutions still being updated.

“Anti-Semitism of this nature should not and must not be allowed to endure in our communities. The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out – and speak out forcefully – against this scourge,” said David Posner, director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America.

“Actions speak louder than words. Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities,” he said.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina issued a statement decrying the threats to Jewish sites. “The multiple bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers in Charlotte, Asheville and across the nation are profoundly disturbing, and I hope federal law enforcement quickly brings the perpetrators to justice. Anti-Semitism has no place in our society. We will always be a nation that proudly cherishes the freedom of religion, where Christians, Jews, Muslims and all others are free to practice, teach, and observe their faiths.”

The Times of Israel reported the threats were focused in the Eastern and Midwest parts of the United States. It said 70 bomb threats were made against Jewish sites in the U.S. since Jan. 9, forcing the evacuation of hundreds, including preschool children, from the buildings.

Shalom Park didn’t specify the details of the phone threat, but said in a statement that portions of its Providence Road campus were evacuated Monday morning.

The threat was deemed “not credible” by local law enforcement, but it was treated with seriousness, said a security statement sent out by Monica McDaniel, interim director of the Foundation of Shalom Park.

“Under an abundance of caution and in keeping with our security protocols, we safely evacuated portions of our campus to a secure location while local law enforcement performed a thorough security sweep of the building and the campus,” said the statement.

“Our response to today’s incident continues to reinforce our commitment to keeping our Shalom Park community safe.”

A similar threat caused the campus to be evacuated on Jan. 10 and was also proven to be bogus, with no explosives found on site.

Media reports out of Asheville say a bomb threat was also made around 9:30 a.m. Monday to that city’s Jewish Community Center. Police told TV station WLOS that several units arrived on the scene to investigate. Both the interior and exterior of the building were cleared, and no suspicious items were found, it was reported.

Both phone threats come at a time when the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department are partnering to investigate “possible civil rights violations in connection with threats” to Jewish centers across the country.

News outlets have reported dozens of bomb threats were called into Jewish community centers across the country in recent weeks, and there has been vandalism reported at Jewish cemeteries.

Charlotte’s Foundation of Shalom Park is a nonprofit agency that owns and manages the properties and facilities for most of the organizations that are located on the central campus of Shalom Park.

Among the sites located on the campus are Temple Israel, Temple Beth El, the Levine Jewish Community Center, Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, Jewish Family Services, Temple Israel Religious School, Temple Beth El Religious School, Consolidated High School of Jewish Studies, Charlotte Jewish Preschool, Charlotte Jewish Day School, Levine-Sklut Judaic Library & Resource Center, and the Charlotte Jewish News.