DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Local members of the Jewish community are voicing their concern and frustration after a local institution was targeted Tuesday.
Buildings within the Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, including the Jewish for Good JCC, were evacuated because of a bomb threat Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s surprising and not surprising. We know the world that we live in, we know that anti-Semitism is at an all-time high,” said Rabbi Matthew Soffer, the congregation’s senior rabbi, adding that Tuesday’s incident was unfounded.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents have continued to rise across the United States in recent years, with the group recording at least 1,000 separate incidents each year since 2016.
Last year’s nearly 3,700 incidents were a record since the ADL began reporting in 1979, and represented a 36% increase since 2021.
“Not totally convinced that people really understand how real antisemitism is,” Soffer said.
Bomb threats targeted Jewish institutions, the ADL reports, also significantly rose last year, up from 8 to 91.
“I’m wearing a Star of David now. And a friend of mine said to me last week, I don’t know if I have the courage to wear that out,” said Amy Levine.
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Levine lives in Raleigh. She was one of several people who found anti-Semitic flyers outside her home in the summer, when several neighborhoods across the city were littered with them.
With the rise in antisemitic incidents across the country, she says her temple is protected by security, “I don’t know if people realize what that’s like, to be sad that you need him, and so relieved when you see him.”
Soffer says he’s thankful for the support of the community in the aftermath of Tuesday’s incident. He credited the Durham Police Department and the sheriff’s office for their response as well.