15 New York synagogues hit with false bomb threats

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

Close up of the NYPD logo on a police car. (Tim Drivas/Getty via JTA)
Close up of the NYPD logo on a police car. (Tim Drivas/Getty via JTA)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Bomb threats were made against 15 synagogues in New York State early this 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, and there did not appear to be any actual danger to the targets, says CSI Director Mitch Silber.

This morning’s 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,” reads one of the threats sent today via email. “These explosives will go off in a few hours and I will make history. I will make sure you all die.”

Today’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 onslaught 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.

The New York Police Department says 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 confirms that 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 is no other immediate information available about the locations that may have been targeted.

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