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Authorities investigate potential threat to metro Jewish community

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Members of the Jewish community around the metro are paying extra attention to their surroundings following a threat early this morning.

Jewish agencies became aware of a potential threat to the broader Kansas City Jewish community.

They are working together with law enforcement and immediate steps were taken to secure their facilities.

“I was in the middle of teaching preschool camp, working with a group of toddlers, and the Rabbi informed me that there had been a security threat and that the building was on lock down and to just be aware of what was going,” Esty Perman, a camp teacher, said.

Perman, an active member of the Jewish community, said it’s not the first time the Jewish community has received threats, but said it’s always something to be vigilant about.

“I wasn’t really afraid, just a little bit more aware,” Perman added.

Members of the Jewish community say they take any threats very seriously. Especially following recent events around the country and the Jewish Community Campus and Village Shalom shootings two years ago.

“Whenever something, like the shooting in Orlando, or any terror threats really, whether they happen locally or somewhere else, there’s nothing we can do about them. We can’t physically go fight the bad guys. The only thing we can do is increase in goodness and add more light to the world,” Perman said.

According to local police, the FBI is investigating. When we asked the FBI, we were told they cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

“Often times we sit there by our computer and by our phones hearing the news and knowing whats going on but are completely helpless and unable to do anything about it,” Perman added.

The Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Center sent out emails to the community to inform them about the threat.

Dr. Helene Lotman, the President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, sent out a letter online informing the public of the threat. Lotman said the situation has since been resolved, but emphasized the importance of vigilance and communication.

Dear Friends,

This morning our Jewish agencies became aware of a potential threat to the broader Kansas City Jewish community. Working in collaboration with law enforcement officials, immediate steps were taken by our Director of Community Security to secure our facilities. Law enforcement has since resolved the situation, and we continue to work with local and national officials to maintain a safe and secure community.

Our Jewish community facilities remain open with regular security protocols in place, and normal activities will continue as scheduled. Our No. 1 priority is the safety and security of our community, and we will continue to communicate with you as needed.

Thank you for your partnership in keeping our community safe—as always, if you see something of concern, please say something to a security officer or staff member.

Sincerely,

Helene

“I think the Jewish Community in Kansas City has very good communication when something like this occurs, the response is very quick and very effective, everyone is quickly aware of what needs to be done and watched out for,” Perman said.

The JCC and other buildings will remain open with regular security protocols, and activities will continue as scheduled.