April 2017 -- Nisan-Iyar 5777,  Volume 23, Issue 4

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Left to right: David Kirschtel, Chief Executive Officer of JCC Rockland, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Karen Kolodny, Executive Director of JCC of Mid-Westchester and Frank Hassid, Executive Director of JCC on the Hudson

Lowey Hosts Roundtable with Jewish Leaders on Anti-Semitic Threats Against JCC’s

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, hosted a roundtable discussion with local Jewish leaders at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) on the Hudson in Tarrytown in early March to discuss the wave of 120 bomb threats made against JCCs and Jewish schools across the country. JCC on the Hudson was one of two JCCs in Westchester that received bomb threats. As Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism, Congresswomen Lowey sent a letter to President Trump demanding that the Department of Justice (DOJ) have access to the necessary resources to fully investigate these threats and anti-Semitic acts.

 

“The recent threats against Jewish Community Centers in Westchester and across the country are horrifying and unprecedented,” said Lowey. “As Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism, I call on the Department of Justice to use its full power to aggressively and immediately bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice. Hatred and anti-Semitic violence  have absolutely no place in our community and will not be tolerated by the federal government.”

 

In their letter to President Trump, Congresswoman Lowey and the other Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism demanded the Administration and the DOJ:

 

Ensure that the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has access to the necessary resources and information to fully investigate alleged anti-Semitic crimes and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice; Ensure that a mechanism exists to coordinate inter-agency detection of and response to new anti-Semitic crimes; Evaluate growing anti-Semitism online, particularly incitement to violence, and devise a comprehensive policy response.

 

“The recent rash of bomb threats and other Anti-Semitic incidents has highlighted the importance for all elected officials to make the security of our community centers and the Jewish community priority one,” said Frank Hassid, Executive Director of JCC on the Hudson. “We are encouraged that representatives such as Congresswoman Nita Lowey have been proactive in helping us look at how we can best secure our institutions, find resources to make that possible  and assure the community that we stand together during these difficult times.”

 

“Although JCC Rockland has not received one of these hateful, harassing calls, we support JCCs across this continent that have been targeted. This kind of hate has no place in Rockland Country—or anywhere,” said  David  Kirschtel, Chief Executive Officer of JCC Rockland. “JCC Rockland is a safe place to connect to others and to enjoy a variety of recreational, sports, educational and cultural programming. The safety and security of our participants remains our highest priority, so that we continue to be an open and welcoming space—not only for the Jewish community, but for all the people of Rockland County and beyond.”

 

On February 27, bomb threats were called into the JCC on the Hudson in Tarrytown and the JCC of Mid-Westchester in Scarsdale, causing the evacuation of more than 200 adults and children.

 

Congresswoman Lowey, who has spent her career fighting bigotry and anti-Semitic violence, also praised the Federal Communications Commission for granting a waiver that will allow Jewish organizations receiving  threats to track the phone numbers of the callers. In recent years, she and fellow Co-Chairs relaunched the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism, which works actively to address increasing anti-Semitism in the United States and abroad.