Police investigate series of at least 4 bomb threats at New York City synagogues

One community evacuated, building cleared; emailed threats deemed not credible by authorities; Brooklyn Museum also gets message threatening to blow up nearby subway station

Rodeph Sholom synagogue, New York (Jim.henderson / Wikipedia)
Rodeph Sholom synagogue, New York (Jim.henderson / Wikipedia)

New York Jewish Week via JTA — Authorities are investigating a series of bomb threats at New York City synagogues and cultural institutions on Saturday. At least four synagogues and one museum received the emailed threats, which were deemed not credible by the New York City Police Department.

The Upper West Side’s Reform Congregation Rodeph Sholom was targeted, along with the LGBTQ-oriented Congregation Beit Simchat Torah on West 30th Street, Chabad of Midtown on Fifth Avenue, and Brooklyn Heights Synagogue on Remsen Street.

Police told CBS News that the threatened locations “all received emails stating that explosives were present in the buildings or nearby.”

At least one of the synagogues was evacuated; in a message posted to its Facebook page, Congregation Rodeph Shalom wrote: “The NYPD 20th Precinct asked us to evacuate the building as a precaution. Following a thorough search, the building was deemed clear. We are grateful for the response from the NYPD, who, in partnership with our professional security team, completed a thorough investigation of the situation.”

CBS News also reports that that the Brooklyn Museum received an email threatening to blow up the nearby Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum subway station. The MTA said an “unusual package” was found outside the station, but subway service was not affected.

On X, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine called the threats “a clear effort to sow fear in the Jewish community,” as well as a hate crime that’s “part of a growing trend of ‘swatting’ incidents targeting Jewish institutions.”

Gov. Kathy Hocul also took to X to address the incidents, saying that New York “will not tolerate individuals sowing fear & antisemitism,” and adding that “those responsible must be held accountable for their despicable actions.”

“This is not peaceful, this is not lawful and this is not normal and this is happening on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day,” Mark Treyger, the new CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council, told the New York Post. “This is a dangerous escalation of what we’ve already been seeing in the rest of the country.”

Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, began Sunday evening.

“This is not isolated from the bigger, hostile climate right now against Jewish people,” added Treyger, who is the grandson of Holocaust survivors.

File – Mark Treyger, CEO of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. (Courtesy)

Antisemitic incidents across New York City have spiked dramatically since the war in Gaza began, sparked by Hamas’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel. According to the most recent figures released by the NYPD, since the start of October through March 2024, 253 antisemitic incidents have been reported to police — an increase of 85 percent over the 137 anti-Jewish crimes reported during the same period last year.

There were 43 antisemitic incidents in the five boroughs reported to police last month. The NYPD is continuing to investigate Saturday’s false threats.

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