Jewish community won’t be scared off easily, rabbi says after bomb threats

Oct 9, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: Nov 30, 2023, 5:49 pm

Kol Ami sign is pictured, this was just one of several jewish houses of worship that got bomb threa...

(Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

(Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah rabbi is speaking out following a series of bomb threats on Jewish institutions over the weekend. The bomb threats were a hoax, but Utah Rabbi Sam Spector says that threats are far from over.

At Congregation Kol Ami you can see a mobile police camera, a patrol car, usually, and security cameras all over the building. Rabbi Spector said these kinds of threats are becoming more and more common for Jews all over the country.

The threats on Sunday came weeks after a bomb threat closed Salt Lake City’s Jewish Community Center for two hours. The threat forced over 100 people to shelter in place.

Then, less than two weeks after the JCC incident, Weber State University found a swastika carved into a desk on Yom Kippur.

The price of safety

With anti-Semitism still on the rise, Spector said they have to invest $40,000 a year just to worship safely.

“I’ve had Latter-day Saints and Christians come to our worship services and they’re alarmed to see police officers and they go, ‘Did something happen?’ And I go ‘no, why?”

Additionally, Spector said the Department of Homeland Security is giving the synagogue $500,000 to bolster its already extensive security measures.

“What wonderful things could we do if we didn’t have to have such financial expense and burden to ensure the safety of our congregants?”

Spector said it’s not clear if yesterday’s threat had any connection to the conflict in Israel. Although, he said the last time the conflict escalated so did anti-Semitic threats in America.

With threats likely to continue, Spector said that Congregation Kol Ami is constantly preparing members for incidents like Sunday’s. Spector said they won’t be scared off so easily.

“The best thing that we can do as a community is to continue to practice Judaism. [And], to continue to be there to support each other,” he said. “Not hand these people and anti-Semites a victory by staying away.”

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Jewish community won’t be scared off easily, rabbi says after bomb threats