Bomb threat frightens local Jewish community center


Robert Scoble/ CC BY 2.0

A view of the facilities that were involved in the bomb threat at the Oshman Family Jewish community center.

Jordan Greene, Staff Writer

Anti-Semitism is on the rise.

Since the beginning of the year, over 100 Jewish community centers in 27 states have received bomb threats. The largest waves of calls took place on Jan. 18, Jan. 31, and Feb. 20.

This situation hit home for many students at Carlmont when a threat was received at a local Jewish community center on Feb. 27.

At around 5:25 p.m., the Oshman Family Jewish community center (OFJCC) in Palo Alto received a call through their main line regarding a bomb threat.

Sally Flinchbaugh, the chief operating officer at the OFJCC, dealt with the issue first hand.

“Since my time working at the OFJCC, I have never experienced anything quite like this before. Right as the call came into the main line, we made the decision to evacuate the entire campus out of safety precautions. We had to take people out of the gym, pool, yoga classes, and the weight lifting area,” said Flinchbaugh.

Flinchbaugh also claims that this situation has caused a great lack of uncertainty throughout her community.

“After this happened, I was sad because this is happening all over the country and it is disrupting our communities and making people feel unsafe. We are a place to come together to celebrate as a community. We stand for being inclusive, collaborative, and joyful, so it made me sad that a call like this can disrupt how the community feels,” said Flinchbaugh.

The Palo Alto police are investigating the factors behind the threat and are proceeding with precaution.

The incident has caused many teens at Carlmont to become more aware of the different types of hate taking place throughout the world.

“My initial thoughts were that this was terrible. No one deserves to be targeted in this way, we are all equal and need to treat each other that way. There is no reason people should be threatening Jewish communities and definitely not through the use of bombs,” said Amy Yolland, a junior.

The threat has also inspired many Carlmont teens to fight for a greater understanding of ethnic differences throughout campus.

Ilana Hamer, a senior at Carlmont and the local president of a Jewish youth group, said, “As a community, it’s imperative that we speak up against hatred and bigotry. Educate yourself and your peers about issues in the world and don’t be afraid to ask questions. We must stand together in the face of anti-Semitism and all forms of intolerance because when we stand together, we are stronger.”