Late yesterday afternoon, the Merage JCC became one of the over 100 Jewish institutions nationwide to be targeted with a bomb threat since the start of the year. The Samueli Jewish Campus – which includes our offices, the Merage JCC, OC Hillel Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County, and Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School – was immediately evacuated. The Irvine Police Department arrived within minutes and conducted a full inspection of the building before giving the all clear; not a single person was physically harmed. Yesterday’s bomb threat is being taken seriously and will be fully investigated by local law enforcement, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security.
While we are relieved that recent threats to JCCs and other Jewish institutions across our nation have proven to be hoaxes, we are concerned about the always-present forces of anti-Semitism behind them and are vigilant in maintaining the safety of our community. Accordingly, the Rose Project of JFFS, in its capacity of supporting community relations on issues of importance, has engaged Jewish Federations of North America’s Secure Community Network to develop action plans and provide guidance, trainings, and other resources to support our community’s security efforts. We will also continue to work with our community partners – including those within the Jewish community and those in our local government and law enforcement agencies – to ensure the safety of our Jewish institutions.
The following statement was released by Congresswoman Mimi Walters (CA 45) after yesterday’s incident here in Irvine:
“Incidents of hate have no place in our community, which does not – and will not – tolerate offensive acts. I am appalled by the recent wave of anti-Semitism, and we must condemn such unacceptable behavior in the strongest manner. We stand together as one, resolute in the face of intolerance. I thank the Irvine Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department for their commitment to our community’s safety.”
We are grateful to Congresswoman Walters for her support of the Jewish community at this difficult time. The Rose Project of JFFS acknowledges that acts of anti-Semitism as well as acts of bias and bigotry against other minorities are on the rise across the U.S. We are steadfast in our commitment to work with the entire Orange County community, in accordance with our Jewish values, to create the safest possible environment and combat all forms and expressions of hate.