WHITEFISH BAY - The Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center was closed for several hours on Sunday, March 12, as police investigated an emailed bomb threat — the fourth threat in six weeks for the Whitefish Bay facility.
Police investigated the situation and determined the threat was not credible. The JCC reopened at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
The JCC has previously closed on Jan. 31, Feb. 20 and March 7 due to bomb threats. The JCC in Whitefish Bay is one of 100 Jewish Community Centers across the country to receive bomb threats in the past two months.
State and federal lawmakers from both sides of the aisle recently showed their support for the JCC in a press conference on Feb. 27. Gov. Scott Walker was unable to make the initial press conference because he was in Washington, D.C. A little more than a week later, on March 8, Walker came to Whitefish Bay to take a tour of the JCC and meet with JCC staff members. State Sen. Alberta Darling and state Rep. Jim Ott accompanied Walker on the visit.
Walker said he wanted to meet with JCC President Mark Shapiro to learn how state law enforcement agencies can more effectively investigate these "domestic terrorism" threats.
"It's important to physically be here with Mark, your team and all of the other supporters — be it Jewish or not — all of the people in this community and this state who support the JCC and support the good work being done. That's the primary reason we are here," he said. "My staff and I talked a little bit beforehand. There's a series of things we are going to follow through on. We'll make announcements later today or in the coming days about some specifics to help — intelligence, staffing and other things — to make certain that this continues to be a world-class facility and a world-class program."
Shapiro thanked Walker for his support and encouraged the local community to continue to support the JCC during this difficult time.
"For any differences that we might have in our communities, the values that connect all of us are so much greater than the small moments people seek to divide us," Shapiro said. "If a JCC is local, we are only as strong as the very local community we aspire to serve. We are dependent upon that local community to say yes, and its leaders — like my friend Scott Walker — who are going to take action and vote with their feet. A community that will come and say yes to our JCC."