Community solidarity arises in aftermath of JCC bomb threat

Max Zahn
Nassau County Legislator Arnold Drucker speaks at a vigil at the Mid-Island Y JCC last Thursday.

Community solidarity, a return to normalcy and further investigation have come in the aftermath of a bomb threat called into the Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview last Monday.

“We’re very proud that the Mid Island Y Jewish Community Center is operating as normal,” Mid-Island Y JCC Executive Director Rick Lewis said.

The threat was one of over one hundred made at Jewish Community Centers across the United States in recent months, and was the second such threat leveled at a JCC in Nassau this year.

Almost 400 people attended a vigil at the community center in Plainview last Thursday night, Lewis said.

“We’re all from the same community and we’re upset with what’s happening,” Lewis said. “We all need to come together and combat it.”

Nassau County Legislator Arnold Drucker, a member of the Mid Island Y Jewish Community Center, said it was “gratifying to see the turnout” at the vigil, which “transcended not only Jews but people of all faiths, races and religious orientations.”

Among those in attendance was Habeeb Ahmed, president-elect of the Islamic Center of Long Island, as well as state Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages.

“It was a shame that it takes horrible, despicable acts to prompt this type of turnout but I’m so gratified we were able to come together to show unity and support to fight that disgusting behavior,” Drucker said. 

“My message to my community is keep being the way you are,” said Drucker, whose district includes parts of Roslyn. “Keep being inclusive, tolerant, receptive and caring about each other and our fellow residents because we are all one people and we will overcome these unfortunate but isolated acts of ignorance.”

Drucker commended the Nassau County Police for its response to the bomb threat.

He said police are doing whatever they can “to be vigilant and ensure that anyone who is attempting to do these type of acts is caught right away,” Drucker said.

Lewis said patrols at the Mid Island Y Jewish Community Center have been “far more frequent” than he has “ever seen before.”

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas visited the community center, Lewis said.

“I think she came to get a firsthand view of exactly what happened and to see if there’s anything she can do to be supportive,” he added.

In response to a request from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer last week, the Federal Communications Commission granted a temporary waiver to Jewish community centers across the country to allow the centers and law enforcement to access the caller ID information of anonymous threatening and harassing callers, Newsday reported.

“We are grateful to Chuck Schumer’s office for initiating this fantastic idea,” Lewis said.

On Friday, the FBI arrested a St. Louis man who allegedly made at least eight bomb threats against Jewish community centers across the United States and one against the New York headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League, according to a federal complaint filed by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.

The man, Juan Thompson, made some of the threats in the name of a former girlfriend to harass and intimidate her, the complaint said.

The complaint does not link Thompson to the threat called into the Mid-Island Y JCC.

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