15 synagogues across New York hit with false bomb threats

Jewish security agency says the threats targeted 7 houses of worship in NYC, 3 in the suburbs and 5 in upstate New York

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

Police stationed outside a synagogue after threats to the Jewish community, in New York City, November 4, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
Illustrative: Police stationed outside a synagogue after threats to the Jewish community, in New York City, November 4, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

New York Jewish Week via JTA — Bomb threats were made against 15 synagogues in New York State early Friday morning, according to a Jewish security agency in New York City.

Threats were made against five synagogues in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, one on Long Island, two in Westchester County and five in other parts of upstate New York, according to the Community Security Initiative, which coordinates security for Jewish institutions in the New York City area.

The threats were made as part of a campaign intended to interrupt synagogue operations by forcing law enforcement to go to a location, and there did not appear to be any actual danger to the targets, said CSI Director Mitch Silber.

The Friday morning campaign, mostly sent through synagogue websites’ contact forms, appeared similar to dozens of bomb threats that have been made against Jewish institutions since the summer. Many of those threats were sent via email and all of them were deemed not credible after investigation by law enforcement. In some cases, threats on synagogues have caused Shabbat services to be evacuated.

“There are multiple explosives inside the synagogue,” read one of the threats sent Friday via email. “These explosives will go off in a few hours and I will make history. I will make sure you all die.”

Friday’s threats also come amid a spike in antisemitic hate crimes in New York City and across the United States following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza. Jews are consistently targeted in hate crimes more than any other group in New York City, with over 230 antisemitic incidents reported to police so far this year.

Silber said law enforcement would investigate all of the threats and added that “there should be consequences.”

“None of them have been real” threats, Silber said. “They’re really just to disrupt, to intimidate.”

Illustrative: New York police officers stand guard at the door of the Union Temple of Brooklyn after it was vandalized with graffiti, November 2, 2018. (Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images)

The New York Police Department said it had responded to threats against synagogues on the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side and in Washington Heights and Inwood. One of the calls reporting the threats came in at 5:29 a.m, a police spokesperson said.

The spokesperson confirmed police officers responded to threats against at least two Orthodox synagogues, one on the Upper West Side and one in Washington Heights. Officers swept the premises, deemed the locations safe, and both congregations resumed operations.

There was no other immediate information available about the locations that may have been targeted.

Earlier this week a bomb threat was made against Park Avenue Synagogue, a Conservative congregation on the Upper East Side. Police searched the premises and determined that the threat was not credible.

In September, the FBI charged a man with sending more than 150 bomb threats to synagogues and other buildings across five US states that month. But the threats have continued, albeit at a slower pace, since the arrest of the suspect, a 33-year-old Peruvian national named Eddie Manuel Nunez Santos.

Jewish institutions were targeted with previous waves of false bomb threats in 2017 and 2020.

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