NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Hate hit close to home for some local Westchester County politicians , as a pair of Hudson Valley Jewish community centers were among more than a dozen forced to evacuate throughout the country after being targeted by bomb threats.
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Monday, the Jewish Community Center on the Hudson was evacuated in Tarrytown, when a bomb threat was made, Police Lt. John Barbalet said. Hours later, at approximately 11 a.m., the JCC of Mid-Westchester on the New Rochelle-Scarsdale town line was evacuated for a similar threat, police confirmed.
Scarsdale Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who regularly frequents the JCC of Mid-Westchester, which is blocks from her home, said that now is the time for local officials to speak out against hate crimes.
"The bomb threat at the Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester hits home to me, because it is the center my family and I frequently use," she said. "Yet every act or threat of hatred hits home to someone, and therefore hits home to everyone who stands for inclusion, for justice, and human values. As elected officials and community leaders we must speak out, and speak out loudly, so that people who deal in threats, violence and hatred understand they will never win and that humanity and decency always will."
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson was one of many to visit with the Executive Board of the JCC on Monday to express his support in person. While he expressed frustration that the threats “hit us close to home,” he added that he “takes comfort and draws confidence from the sure knowledge that (New Rochelle) is a welcoming, inclusive place that celebrates diversity and utterly rejects hatred of any kind.”
“Fortunately, there was no actual bomb, and following a police sweep of the building, business returned to normal. Except, it’s not normal,” he posted . “It’s not normal for anti-Semitism to rear its ugly head in our own backyard. It’s not normal for a hateful action to disrupt our daily lives. It’s not normal for families to live with an undercurrent of fear and uncertainty.”
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