Police responding to a threat against members of the Jewish Community Center of the Greater Five Towns in Lawrence on Sunday found no evidence of any credible dangers, but said investigators are still looking into the incident — and are asking the public for assistance.
JCC chief executive Aaron Rosenfeld said the threat was received via general email to the organization and said while it included no specifics, it did mention of a bomb. He said officials promptly relayed the threat information to police — and Nassau County police said that information was received by the 911 Communication System at 5:47 p.m. Sunday.
Police said officers responding to the JCC at 140 Central Ave., conducted a "thorough and systematic search" of the building and area, but said after an "extensive investigation" found "no evidence of any credible threats," and all was deemed safe.
The building houses the JCC Harrison-Kerr Family Campus, as well as Temple Israel of Lawrence. The JCC also operates out of other sites in the Five Towns area, including the Marion & Aaron Gural JCC in Cedarhurst, and a kosher food pantry. Rosenfeld said while the JCC had no live events taking place at the time the threat was received, another organization was using the parking lot at the Central Avenue location. The site is home to a JCC-run early childhood center, senior programs and other social service programs managed by the JCC.
"Yesterday afternoon The Marion & Aaron Gural JCC on Long Island received an email bomb threat," Rosenfeld said in a statement Monday, adding: "We take all threats seriously and followed our safety and security protocols. No one was present in any of our facilities when the threat was received. We immediately contacted the Nassau County Police Department. The NCPD Bomb Unit was dispatched and performed a complete search of our facilities and cleared us to return. We worked closely with the NCPD and our security team to ensure that all of our facilities reopened safely this morning."
The incident comes on the heels of what authorities described as a racially motivated and hate-related mass shooting that killed 10 and injured three others at a supermarket in Buffalo Saturday. Authorities arrested a white 18-year-old gunman who they said posted an online manifesto spouting white supremacist ideologies before targeting the Tops Friendly Markets store in a predominantly Black neighborhood more than 200 miles from his hometown in Conklin, N.Y.
Police in Nassau and Suffolk counties were on heightened alert for possible copycat events on Long Island following that shooting.
In a media advisory following the Buffalo shooting, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Police Commissioner Patrick J. Ryder announced that while there is "no nexus or specific threats" in Nassau, police here continue to work with local, state and federal partners to continue threat assessments — and that the department is "intensifying its patrols" around "all areas of mass transit, houses of worship, locations of large gatherings and business locations."
Those intensified patrols continue Monday, police said.
Rosenfeld told Newsday on Monday that it is important to condemn each of these incidents and threats as they occur.
"We cannot be silent as these attacks and threats of violence are made against our community be it the Jewish community, African American community, Asian community or others," he said in his statement. "All people of good will must stand together and condemn these despicable acts in the loudest voice possible. Hate and violence has no place in our community."
Detectives investigating the threat made against the JCC in Lawrence are asking anyone with information regarding the incident to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.
All calls will remain confidential.