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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

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IU Chabad among Indiana Jewish centers receiving false bomb threat

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IU’s Chabad House was one of several Jewish centers around Indiana to receive a false bomb threat earlier this month, according to the IU Police Department. 

IUPD responded to Chabad at IU’s headquarters Jan. 8 after the Jewish organization received an email from someone claiming they had planted a bomb. No explosives were found in or around the house, IUPD Public Information Officer Hannah Skibba said.  

Detectives later discovered the same false threat was sent to Jewish centers statewide. IUPD is partnering with the FBI to further investigate the emails, Skibba said.  

Chabad Director Rabbi Levi Cunin said he received the two-sentence email around 11 a.m. on the first day of classes after winter break and immediately called IUPD. The short email was riddled with grammatical errors, misspellings and did not appear credible, Cunin said. 

“It was an incredulous threat that had no backing, but IUPD and I decided to take it seriously because when someone poses a threat, no matter how unrealistic it is, you have to take it seriously,” Cunin said.  

Cunin said he felt more compelled to take the threat seriously given the current hostility toward the Jewish community. After Hamas attacked Israel Oct. 7, the number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. has reached its peak since the Anti-Defamation League began tracking antisemitism in 1979.  

A report from the Anti-Defamation League released Jan. 10 documented a rise in antisemitism across the country in the months following the Oct. 7 attack, with 361% more antisemitic incidents occurring than in the same timeframe between 2022-23. The report includes incidents of “antisemitic rhetoric, expressions of support for terrorism against the state of Israel and/or anti-Zionism.” 

While no bombs were placed in Chabad House, Cunin said the emails aimed to incite fear among the Jewish population.  

“This situation is very unfortunate because someone is trying to scare people,” Cunin said.  “With all this happening around us, we all have to add in more good deeds and more positivity.” 

Despite the recent increase in antisemitism, Cunin said he plans to continue embracing his Jewish identity proudly and publicly in hopes of inspiring others to do the same.  

 “It makes me feel more empowered than ever that I am Jewish, and I am identifiably Jewish,” Cunin said. “It may bother someone I can live as a proud Jew, but it makes me prouder every day.” 

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