MAITLAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - It was only about a month ago that someone called-in three bomb threats, at Maitland Jewish Community Center – or JCC. The center's director says it's about time the Feds took steps to end the threats and intimidation.
Keith Dvorchik, JCC of Greater Orlando CEO, says it's a shame that the JCC has to be a fortress. “I think it's a sad state our country's in, in general, that security has to be a concern not just for the Jewish community, but all sorts of different groups,” he said, “nobody should have to have this type of security just to have a normal function.”
Surrounded by a high gate, the compound bristles with cameras. Maitland police are parked outside. All guests have to show ID and get buzzed through a security door to enter.
“We do what we need to make sure everybody's going to be safe and have the type of experience they want at the JCC,” Dvorchik said.
This center's three bomb threats are part of a nationwide threat pattern that prompted Florida senators Rubio and Nelson to write a letter to the administration. They urged the president, the attorney general, and the FBI and homeland security directors to give JCCs and synagogues funding to up their security. They also called for prosecution of anyone making the threats, and requested local police and deputies enforce hate-crime laws more forcefully. All of their colleagues in the senate signed on to the letter.
President Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, weighed in on their message. “We denounce these latest anti-Semitic and hateful threats in the strongest terms,” Spicer said, “as long as they do continue, we'll continue to condemn them and look at ways in which we can stop them.”
Dvorchik says he's pleased by the senators' efforts. “Every single senator stepped up and said we're not going to tolerate this any longer, that hate speech, behaving inappropriately to any group is not acceptable.”
Dvorchik says they've had to hold fundraisers and solicit donations to get the money for their security. Just today a wave of anti-Semitic threats was made against Jewish institutions in nine states and Washington, DC.