FBI Says Threat to New Jersey Synagogues ‘Has Been Neutralized’, Local Police Remain Vigilant

by The Village Green
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From South Orange Police Chief Ernesto Morillo:

In regards to the FBI’s notification on November 3, 2022 that there was a credible threat to synagogues in New Jersey, today the FBI has updated its New Jersey law enforcement and government partners that the threat has been neutralized through swift investigation and action by the Newark Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

The South Orange Police Department will continue to give extra attention to all of our local synagogues. We will remain on high alert as we approach the Sabbath. As this investigation continues, we will provide updates as they become available.

It is unfortunate that the Jewish community is subject to threats such as these. Anti-Semitism and any group advocating for violence and exclusion will simply not be tolerated in South Orange.

Hate simply has no place in South Orange. The South Orange Police Department is proud of its diverse community and welcoming environment. Our continued focus will be fostering partnerships to build safety for all.

If you see something, say something. Please contact us regarding your public safety concerns at 973.763.3000
As always, if you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance.

Chief Ernesto Morillo

From Maplewood Township:

Update on Threat to Synagogues
The FBI has informed that the credible threat towards New Jersey synagogues has been neutralized. We will continue taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of our Jewish community. The Maplewood Police Department will stay attentive to any updates and provide the public with additional information as necessary.

The Maplewood Police Department would like to remind all residents, if they see anything unusual or suspicious, to call (973) 762-3400 or 911 in case of emergency.

Acting Police Chief Albert Sally
Detective Lieutenant Michael Palmerezzi
Mayor Dean Dafis

From the South Orange-Maplewood School District:

Yesterday, the FBI released a warning regarding confirmed threats to Jewish places of worship in New Jersey. We were subsequently in contact with Chief Morrillo, South Orange Police Chief and Acting Maplewood Police Chief Sally who confirmed that they advised all Synagogues in our community to cancel in-person gatherings as a precaution.  Discussions were also held with the District’s Director of Safety & Security, and updates were shared with the Board of Education. One of our District’s Pre-Kindergarten sites (Iris) was directly impacted by this circumstance, as such those students and staff do not have school today.

We are in full support of the joint release from our Townships (Statement on Threat to Synagogue). The District of South Orange & Maplewood and our Board of Education unequivocally stand with our Jewish Community and against hate, anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and bigotry. We remain steadfast in our commitment and embrace all of our District’s diversity as not only a strength but a pillar of our community.

We are relieved to share that this immediate threat to our community has been identified. This morning, the FBI shared the following update:

“We identified the subject and approached him last evening. He expressed radical extremist views and ideology and an extreme amount of hate towards the Jewish community.

We have a high level of confidence that the subject of interest is in fact the individual who posed this threat. He no longer poses a threat to the community at this time, and we have no indication of any outstanding threat affiliated with him or this investigation.”

I have requested that Dr. Gilbert, Assistant Superintendent for Access & Equity as well as Mr. Johnson, Supervisor of Early Childhood, prepare restorative opportunities for the students, families and staff of Iris upon their return so they can be made whole and feel our support.

Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools



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