Teens take 'Say Something' training in response to recent Jewish center threats

Jewish community centers across the country are currently facing a resurgence of anti-Semitism after a second wave of bomb threats across the country Tuesday.

The Sabes Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park, Minnesota is among organizations that received a bomb threat over the last few months.

The secretary at the community center took a startling call on January 18 – the same day the nonprofit Sandy Hook Promise was scheduled to conduct a gun violence prevention session there.

On Wednesday, Sandy Hook Promise joined Yachad, a Jewish educational program for teens, to provide students “Say Something” training in response to the wave of threats across the country and here at home.

“Teens have a very loud, strong and positive voice and we want to empower them to be able to make a difference in the world,” said Dana Prottas, the executive director of Yachad, said. “It’s a really scary reality that we’re living right now, over 100 bomb scares across the United States now in Jewish community centers. That’s a staggering number.”

“It’s hard to combat anti-Semitism when you don’t know where it’s coming from,” Noah Smith, a senior at St. Louis Park High School, told Fox 9. “Jews face it everywhere so it’s important to be prepared for stuff that goes on around anti-Semitism so there’s nothing you can do about the threats so I feel very vulnerable.”

The Jewish community’s latest vulnerability was center to the training.

“It’s really about giving people the language and the ability to look for signs,” Allie Greenstein, a Yachad faculty member, explained.

“Say Something” gives students the courage to act and tell a trusted adult when they spot potential violence or hate crime warning signs.

“It might be that somebody’s really isolated and is alone most of the time, it might be things they post on social media, and these are things that we might brush aside, but with everything we should take it seriously because if we’re in a position to prevent something, we should,” Amy Weiss, Yachad director of programming and development, said of the possible indicators.

“We hope teens don’t second guess themselves, when something doesn’t feel right in their gut, to say something immediately. It’s better to be wrong than to not say something and to have something happen,” Weiss said. “God forbid it turns into something more serious we want them to be ready.”

To learn more about Yachad, visit yachadmn.org