US synagogues evacuated after fake bomb threats ahead of High Holy Days

A synagogue in California and Florida were evacuated last weekend


Two synagogues in the US were forced to evacuate their members just days before the High Holy Days.

Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California and Congregation B’nai Israel in St Petersburg, Florida received fake bomb threats last weekend.

In both cases, the synagogues were evacuated and police conducted full searches of the premises.

A letter from Beth Am congregational leaders sent to their community just before midnight on Friday said: “As a community, we remain resolute and determined in the face of this act of antisemitic harassment.”

B’nai Israel, a Conservative congregation, received the threat as congregants were exiting the Selichot services on Saturday, September 9.

B’nai Israel’s rabbi, Philip Weintraub, said of the incident: “It was not disruptive to our worship.” He told JTA that the police “took it very seriously.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, at least 49 synagogues in 13 states have received threatening calls since mid-July. None of the calls have been linked to credible bomb threats.

The ADL said it expects the threats to continue when the High Holy Days begin with the start of Rosh Hashanah on Friday.

Last week, police were called to a potential bomb scare in Golders Green, north-west London when a suitcase was left unattended outside a shul.

Police attended the scene and removed the case which was full of clothes and blankets.

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