First at Four: Jewish leader responds to recent threats against community centers, schools

First at Four: Jewish leader responds to recent threats against community centers, schools

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Rabbi Paul Sidlofsky of the Temple of Israel in Wilmington said he is sad and angry about recent threats made against Jewish community centers and Jewish day schools.

"We stand behind those affected," Rabbi Sidlofsky said. "Anti-Semitism and xenophobia have been a continual problem in society for millennia. They are never completely gone. At times, it is more below the surface, but then rises when fear and frustration are goaded among people who find it easier to blame others for their situation than to work together to fix it."

According to the JCC Association, on Feb. 27, there were 31 incidents of bomb threats called into 23 JCCs and eight Jewish day schools in Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington state, and Calgary, Canada.

That brings the total number of threats to 100 this year.

Rabbi Sidlofsky said the Temple has received calls from members of the Wilmington community in the aftermath of the threats.

"I am greatly encouraged by the expressions of concern and support we have received from members of the general community," he said. "I thank all who have done so."

No incidents have been reported in Wilmington. That could be, in part, due to the community outreach from Temple of Israel.

Rabbi Sidlofsky has held an "Invite Your Neighbor" service for the past five years. It encourages community members to attend and learn about the Jewish faith. Rabbi Sidlofsky explains the prayers and shows the Torah scroll to those who attend. The evening ends with refreshments and socializing.

"It has been extremely well-attended and received, and is needed now more than ever," Rabbi Sidlofsky said.

The next one is Friday, May 5 at 8 p.m. at the Temple on S. Fourth St. in Wilmington.

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