Early Sunday morning, Temple Beth-El received a bomb threat, which is now known to be a hoax. On South Main Street and the corner of the HWS Campus, Temple Beth-El serves the Jewish community at the Colleges. This threat occurred as the Temple prepared for services to close out the Jewish new year’s celebration of Rosh Hashanah.
According to Martin Corbett, Associate Vice President of Campus SafetyCampus Safety was first made aware of the threat at about 8:55am on Sunday and dispatched Campus Safety officers immediately. Campus Safety officers joined officers from the Geneva Police Department and other law enforcement agencies who were already at the location.
Corbett also provided the following information:
In consult with local law enforcement, students residing in 737 S. Main St., Beta Sigma and the Abbe Center were notified about this situation via our emergency alert system during this time. We worked directly with the Abbe Center residents when we determined, out of an abundance of caution, we wanted to inspect the Abbe Center as well.
The rest of campus was made aware of the incident by President Mark Gearan’s statement later that afternoon. In his statement, Gearan saidthat “out of an abundance of caution, we evacuated the Abbe Center for Jewish Life. Both Temple Beth-El and the Abbe Center were investigated by a special bomb team, including a canine unit. The result is that the threat was deemed to be a hoax and that there is no danger to the community at this time.”
This hoax is one of many antisemitic incidents across the nation that targeted the Jewish community during this special holiday weekend. In order to ensure a safe environment for all students at HWS, Corbett said that “Campus Safety is providing extra patrols of the Abbe Center and surrounding area, and working with the house manager to identify other options that may help them be more comfortable in their space.” He also said that Campus Safety continues to support any ongoing investigation by Local Law Enforcement and is coordinating “with the Director of Community Security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester to stay informed of any information that may be relevant to our campus.”