Owings Mills JCC evacuated after bomb threat; threat deemed noncredible

Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC (Jesse Berman)

The JCC of Greater Baltimore received an antisemitic email bomb threat on Saturday, May 14.

The JCC in St. Louis received a similar threat, but both were deemed noncredible by law enforcement, according to a security update sent out by the JCC on Monday.

These threats — delivered via website forms — are consistent in language with threats at other JCCs in the last several months.

JCC leadership responded to the May 14 threats in consultation with security and local law enforcement. The Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC was evacuated for two hours, but no threat was found.

The Weinberg Park Heights JCC was cleared without an evacuation, as it is normally closed on Saturdays.

In the security update, leadership from the JCC of Greater Baltimore noted that there were other instances of threats and violent acts across the country this past weekend.

“This past weekend our country again saw mass threats and killings at a supermarket in upstate New York, a flea market in Texas, and a church in California, to sadly just name a few,” CEO Barak Hermann and Board Chair Laura Rubenstein said in the security update. “These tragic mass killings are rooted in hate and racism and resulted in innocent lives being lost and hurt and families and communities tragically impacted. The threat we and other JCCs have received are full of antisemitic language and causes frustration and anxiety.

“We are saddened that situations like these continue to occur. We take the security of our JCC campuses very seriously and are grateful for the tremendous financial support we receive from the Associated’s Annual Campaign to be able to have full time security personnel at both campuses.”

Hermann and Rubenstein said that community members should alert security or a staff member of any suspicious activity, including unattended bags in and around JCC buildings.

They encouraged any questions be sent to Paul Lurie, chief operating officer or the JCC membership team.

In 2016 and 2017, there was a slew of 2,000 hoax phone and email bomb threats, many of which were made against JCCs across the country. Both the Owings Mills and Park Heights JCC locations in Baltimore received threats at the time; the Park Heights JCC was evacuated at one point.

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