Westchester County synagogues receive violent threats amid Jewish holy days

Law enforcement quickly deemed the threats "not credible," but the FBI is now investigating.

Emily Young

Sep 19, 2023, 11:03 AM

Updated 269 days ago

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A number of synagogues in Westchester County received a bomb threat via email on Rosh Hoshana.
Rabbi Howard Goldsmith is the rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester in Rye, one of the synagogues to receive the threat.
"I had received an email overnight suggesting that there was a pipe bomb that had been planted in "the Jewish center" with a number to call to negotiate," explained Rabbi Goldsmith.
He says he reached out to Harrison police immediately who called in the county bomb squad.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer says it wasn't just synagogues - Westchester County Airport got the same email threat.
Authorities called the number given in the threatening email but were told the number was not in service.
The bomb squad searched each and every location from top to bottom and ultimately deemed the threats to not be credible. 
"This was a systematic effort by some individual or individuals, that what's being investigated," says Latimer. "The FBI is involved, working with state and county and local officials."
Rabbi Goldsmith says credible or not, this threat was blatant antisemitism.
"My message for people, my hope is that whenever anyone seems any antisemitism they call it out and put a stop to it," he said.
Yom Kippur is just around the corner, and local police departments will be on alert monitoring and making sure the local synagogues are safe.
"If you see something unusual, anything that looks out of sorts, it is absolutely appropriate to call and to let authorities know that," says Latimer.
Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 24.


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