Congregation Beth Shalom issued a statement on Saturday saying it was an act of cowardice when someone made a bomb threat against the congregation’s location on one of the Jewish Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah.
“On the first day of our New Year, as Jews gathered across the world, a coward called in a threat to our community,” wrote Rabbi Jay Siegel in a statement released on the Congregation Beth Shalom Facebook page.
According to Lt. Brandon Barclay, a spokesman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, an anonymous call was made to the SCV Sheriff’s Station on Saturday regarding a bomb threat. The caller indicated a bomb was inside a duffel bag at Congregation Beth Shalom.
In response to the threat, Congregation Beth Shalom evacuated.
“Within moments our in-house security and staff, with advice from our Sheriff’s Department, safely evacuated everyone from our holy sanctuary,” wrote Siegel.
Deputies on the scene investigated and assessed packages and items on the premises, but no items were found that raised any safety concern.
Barclay said the incident may have been timed to coincide with the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah.
“It is clear that this act was of no threat to our community, but we will always place the safety of our members as the priority,” wrote Siegel. “Our sanctuary is a sacred place and has been a space for all of us to come find peace and solace. Today our home was invaded by cowardice, we did not react. We responded. Our children and our parents, our young and our old, everyone responded with strength. Everyone was interested in how to help. This only maintained the holiness that is inherent in our holy building.”
Siegel said in the statement that continuing services would not be held on the Congregation Beth Shalom campus on Saturday. Services resumed Sunday.
“Tomorrow we will read from our Torah. Tomorrow we will recite our holy prayers. Tomorrow we will hear the shofar as we have done for thousands of years,” he wrote. “I ask that your response to this cowardice act is to show up in strength tomorrow. As we celebrate the Jewish new year, Congregation Beth Shalom remains steadfast and unwavering in the face of hate.”
Siegel added: “The more blessings we offer, the more light we bring to the world.”