WHITEFISH BAY — The Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center was evacuated Tuesday morning, following a “non-credible” threat, and reopened later the same day.
“Earlier today, the JCC instituted a safe and calm full evacuation of our facilities,” said JCC president and chief executive officer Mark Shapiro in an email blast to members. “Currently, the JCC is CLOSED to members and guests as we follow our protocols for ensuring a secure member experience. Staff and visitors have exited the building, and JCC phone lines will be unattended for a short period of time.”
The message thanked members and other stakeholders for their patience and continued support.
“There was a non-credible threat called into the JCC, and out of an abundance of caution and our protocols, we opted to evacuate the campus,” said Ari Friedman, Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s director of security and community properties. “This is a drill that we’ve practiced numerous times.”
Threats were reported at other JCCs today, Jan. 31, including in Albany, New York and Salt Lake City. The local JCC reopened at 3 p.m., resuming normal activities.
A message from Shapiro was posted to the JCC web site:
“The safety of our members, students, guests, and staff is always our highest priority – and I am abundantly confident in our team’s ability to fulfill that responsibility. I say often that I am blessed and proud to be the President and CEO of this JCC, and it has never been more true than today – watching this staff, membership, and community come together in strength and confidence.”
“Incidents like these are, frankly, disheartening. But rather than lament how one negative voice can fill the air – we focus instead on how one community comes together in peace. We choose to vote with our feet – in visits to the fitness center, happy moments in the classroom, and unique connections throughout our programs. We resolve to provide all guests with the safest possible environment – and to open our building every day as an inclusive destination for wellness, education, and community services to all people, of all backgrounds.”