CHICAGO (CBS) – Following calls for a stronger White House response, President Donald Trump condemned Tuesday a wave of Anti-Semitic threats in the U.S.
The most recent threats included a Jewish Community Center in Chicago. CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has reaction on the incident.
“I am just amazed that this is going on,” said Dan Berg, of Morton Grove.
Where they gather for a well-known kosher meal, Chicago’s Jewish community cannot help but react to a recent wave of anti-Semitic acts.
“It sends ripple effects through the community,” said Melody Coven, of Skokie. “It’s scary.”
“We should be past all this,” Berg said. “This shouldn’t be happening anymore.”
Over 100 headstones at a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis were toppled over the weekend. The Jewish Community Center in Hyde Park was evacuated Monday. The center is one of 11 JCC’s nationwide who received bomb threats – a disturbing trend that has risen since the first of the year.
“We have become more aware of our environment and our surrounding,” said Addie Goodman, Executive VP of JCC Chicago.
This is the second phone threat to a Chicago area JCC facility in less than a month. Administrators said they have since reviewed emergency plans with both staff and local law enforcement.
“Our primary interest is making sure our centers are operating and vibrant and safe,” Goodman said.
Amid criticism of a slow response to the threats, President Trump strongly condemned them as horrible.
“A very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” President Trump said.
“I am glad they finally said something,” Coven said. “I think the administration took their time, but they did the right thing and finally condemned it.”
Others thought the administration should have spoken up sooner.
“He should speak out immediately and not wait until he’s force to make comments,” said Jonas Glenn, of Wilmette.
Thoughts from a difficult moment, that also include hope for the days ahead…
“We are moving in the right direction,” Coven said. “And sometimes we need a few steps back. We just need to be sure to take a few steps forward.”
In spite of the uneasiness the threats can create, the JCC also told CBS 2 they have fielded calls of support from community groups of all backgrounds. Nationwide CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations is offering a $5,000 reward that leads to an arrest regarding the false bomb threats.