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Minn. Jewish Community Center Evacuated After Bomb Threat

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (WCCO) -- The Sabes Jewish Community Center prides itself on being a welcoming place, but on Wednesday, the only people allowed there were parents and loved ones needing to pick up their kids after a bomb threat forced the campus to be evacuated.

"I was actually at a meeting of Rabbi's and one of them got an alert," said Rabbi Jeremy Fine of the Temple of Aaron in St. Paul.

Fine said his wife and children were at the Sabes JCC and that he did his best to stay calm while getting as close to the facility as possible.

"I was still kind of nervous. Certainly it was a day in which a Rabbi cries, which we try to be to the rock for a lot of people but it was nerve-wracking," he said.

Those feelings have likely been shared by families across the country. Steve Hunegs, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and The Dakotas, said there have been 34 total bomb threats against JCC's this month.

"This is the nature of 2017, the world in which we now live," he said. "The important piece is that people don't lose their resolve."

Hunegs said he's proud of how the staff at the community center reacted to the threat and of the response from police and fire fighters. Investigators said three bomb sniffing dogs from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport inspected the building and didn't find anything of concern.

After authorities determined the threat was unfounded, the center remained closed for the evening. However, it will reopen Thursday.

Hunegs said living in fear of what happened is not an option.

"You have to of course balance the need for security with the need to be welcoming. We don't want to abandon the welcoming nature of any institution of any place," Hunegs said.

"I'm very proud of the JCC for being open tomorrow and also standing right by them if they need anything," said Rabbi Fine.

St. Louis Park Police as well as the FBI are involved in the investigation.

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