Bomb threats at Jewish centers across country, creates heightened awareness in AZ

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Jewish centers in Arizona and across the nation are on alert after a wave of bomb threats. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jewish centers in Arizona and across the nation are on alert after a wave of bomb threats. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Anti-Defamation League said the threats are concerning and it's stepping up awareness. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Anti-Defamation League said the threats are concerning and it's stepping up awareness. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
A Chandler family's Hanukah menorah was turned into a symbol of hate in December. (Source: Naomi Ellis) A Chandler family's Hanukah menorah was turned into a symbol of hate in December. (Source: Naomi Ellis)
Vandals damaged Menorah at Temple Beth Shalom in Sun City. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Vandals damaged Menorah at Temple Beth Shalom in Sun City. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Someone painted swastikas at an elementary school and in the surrounding Paradise Valley neighborhood a few weeks ago. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Someone painted swastikas at an elementary school and in the surrounding Paradise Valley neighborhood a few weeks ago. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

There's been another wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish centers across the country.

Since last month, at least 69 incidents have been reported in 27 different states.

So far, none of the threats have targeted centers in Arizona, but the threats have local Jewish groups on heightened alert, especially after a series of hate crimes across the Valley.

A few weeks ago, someone spray painted swastikas at a Paradise Valley elementary school.

[READ MORE: Swastika graffiti found at elementary school in Paradise Valley]

In December, vandals tried to run over a religious structure in front of a Sun City Synagogue, and a Chandler family's Hanukah menorah was turned into a symbol of hate.

[READ MORE: Possible holiday hate crime targets Jewish temple in Sun City]

The number of hate crimes is on the rise across the Valley, and that's gotten the attention of the Anti-Defamation League.

Regional Director Carlos Galindo-Elvira has been following the growing number of bomb threats at Jewish Community centers nationwide, creating a heightened awareness in Arizona.

"The threats to JCC's across the country is certainly serious," said Galindo-Elvira. "It's concerning and we take it seriously. We have sent out security advisories to JCC's here lately, and other regions have done that within their regions."

[READ MORE: Community supports family whose menorah was found twisted into swastika]

President Donald Trump has been criticized recently for not speaking out against the wave of bomb threats.

On Tuesday, Trump took a stand.

"The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil," Trump said.

Rabbi Jeremy Schneider with Temple Kol Ami in Scottsdale said all the hate crimes have helped bring the community closer together.

"I've also seen an uptick in increased support from friends in the community, and that has been something that has warmed the heart," said Schneider. "We have seen our friends and neighbors reach out and ask what they can do to help."

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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