On Sunday night, the Seigel Jewish Community Center just outside Wilmington received its fifth bomb threat since January. On Monday afternoon, Delaware Governor John Carney stopped by to show support.
For Seigel JCC Executive Director Ivy Harlev, the past few months have been a time of stark contrasts.
Bomb threats have come in repeatedly through phone and email, prompting evacuations. “When another one comes it’s frustrating, and it’s unsettling,” Harlev said. “It gets more frustrating after time after time, because it’s like, ‘enough already.'”
As frustrating as every threat has been, the outpouring of support from the community has been equally inspiring. “We knew we had friends, I know there are more good people in the world than bad people, but this has been abundantly clear that we need to build together and keep going together and not wait for a time of crisis.”
The center has received lots of support even from nearby businesses who have sent cards and trays of food in support of the JCC staff.
Delaware Governor John Carney visited the facility and saw dozens and dozens of cards of support and love for the JCC. “The most important thing obviously is to have the public safety officials, Delaware State Police, New Castle County Police, focused on the bomb threats and helping folks out here to stay safe,” Carney said. “We just need to be safe and stick together. It was really great to see the kids from Brandywine Hundred sharing their support with the JCC at this time.”
The threats have not just impacted the JCC but also the Albert Einstein Academy primary school which is also on the campus. “The experience of having to evacuate is challenging, it pushes us to remember what it is that we are here to do and to emerge resilient,” said Rabbi Jeremy Winaker, who serves as Head of School. “We know that our campus is secure and we continue to follow our protocols and the students do their best to get back to learning as soon as we can get that to happen, but there’s no question it’s a disruption, it’s unwelcome.”
And Ivy Harlev has this simple message to the culprits: “You tried to make you’re point. You’re not going to make your point. We’re resilient, we’re going to keep going. We’re safe and we’re strong, and we’re going to keep going. We’d rather keep going without these phone calls and inconveniences, but we’re going to keep going.”