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Jewish community leaders on Long Island ask for more police patrols ahead of Yom Kippur after receiving bomb threats

Jewish community leaders on LI ask for more police enforcement
Jewish community leaders on LI ask for more police enforcement 02:15

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. -- As police investigate bomb threats emailed to several synagogues on Long Island, Jewish community leaders are asking police to step up enforcement on Yom Kippur.

The high holiday begins this Sunday.

Flyers explaining how to report a bias incident are posted all over Temple Avodah in Oceanside.

During Rosh Hashanah last week, a bomb threat was emailed to the synagogue.

"We are not afraid from nothing. We survived so much," Rabbi Jeshayahu "Shai" Beloosesky said.

It's one of at least three synagogues Nassau County police evacuated on the high holiday, then searched and cleared. Two Suffolk County synagogues also received threats. 

People at Beth Am Synagogue in Merrick returned to pray that same day.

"As I said to my congregation and when I spoke on Sunday afternoon, we will not be deterred," Rabbi Michael Baum said.

Now, going into Yom Kippur, which begins Sunday, Jewish leaders are asking for more police patrols.

County Executive Bruce Blakeman says groups of Nassau PD vehicles are patrolling the county's 100 synagogues around the clock.

"We have 20 police cars roaming the county together in units of five, and basically they are there to create a presence," he said.

Long Island synagogues are not alone. Over the weekend, there were also swatting incidents at a New Jersey synagogue and several in New York City.

"The threats that were made all turned out to be bogus threats. It was nationwide, and we think it's emanating from one group and we think they do it for a number of reasons. They want to create fear," Blakeman said.

He says the county is working with the feds to find them.

"We were just in Merrick a month ago, condemning and expressing our outrage over the painting of swastikas in an elementary school playground," Nassau County Legislator Arnold Drucker said.

The county exec is urging residents to report discriminatory activity online to police, and not repost it.

The county executive says all Jewish leaders have direct contact with precinct commanders and can request additional patrols if they feel unsafe for Yom Kippur.

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