Feelings of vulnerability fomenting among local Jewish community

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Federal investigators said Friday a 31-year-old St. Louis man partly behind a recent string of bomb threats made against Jewish community centers across the country. His reasoning, they said, was an ongoing effort to harass an ex-girlfriend.

Rori Picker Neiss, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, said that since the arrest, there are mixed emotions and the community still feels a sense of vulnerability.

“Because of his feeling of wanting retribution against one individual, to then call in these threats and to cause such fear and disruption in our lives, of so many others,” Niess said.

Niess said that since the threats, there has been a heightened need for more security.

“That’s one of our top priorities,” she said, “we want to make sure that each and every one of our institutions and each and every one of our members feels that we are all doing everything that we can to make sure that we are secure.”

Niess said that the sense of vulnerability isn’t just within the Jewish community.

“We turn to our partners like the Muslim community and the African American community, the immigrant community; there are so many communities that are feeling marginalized in various ways,” she said.

“I really want him to understand that these aren’t victimless crimes,” she said. “It’s not just calling in a bomb threat, these have a tremendous impact not only on the Jewish community, but on the entire region.”

Niess said that the Jewish Federation has been organizing public forums to update the community about the security measures they have put in place in an attempt to prevent any type of attack.

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