Jewish day schools in Pennsylvania, Texas have been evacuated due to bomb threats

Two Jewish day schools in Philadelphia and Texas were evacuated this week after bomb threats were made against the facilities.

A parent at Austin Jewish Academy said he was told Monday that a person called the school to say there was a bomb in one of the hallways.

The students were evacuated from the building, but no device was found during a police search.

On Wednesday, the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, Pa. was evacuated for several hours, The Forward reported.

According to the report, the school informed parents that the students were being evacuated after receiving “several worrisome phone calls.”

However, Michael Balaban, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, told the outlet that it does not believe the school is specifically designed to be a Jewish educational institution.

Balaban said the school received calls saying there was a bomb on the premises and a gunman was on his way to the school. However, he said that several institutions in five states had received similar threats within 30 minutes and that only two of them were Jewish.

There was no reason to believe that the Texas and Pennsylvania incidents were directly related.

The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy made headlines in recent weeks when State Senator Doug Mastriano, a candidate for Pennsylvania governor with far-right connections, campaigned on the alma mater of eventual Democratic winner Josh Shapiro.

At a rally, Mastriano said Shapiro “grew up in a privileged neighborhood, attended one of the most privileged schools in the nation as a young man — not college, I’m talking about growing up.”

This combination of photos shows Democratic Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro on June 29, 2022 in Philadelphia, left, and Republican Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano on September 29, 2022, in Erie, Pennsylvania, right. (AP photo)

Additionally, Mastriano said Wednesday that Shapiro now “sends his four children to the same privileged, exclusive, elite school, $30,000 to $40,000 per student. We’re talking about him despising people like us.”

Mastriano never mentioned the school by name or indicated that it was a Jewish school. But his alumnus Jake Tapper noted the impact on his CNN program The Lead.

“It’s a private Jewish community school,” Tapper said. “And I suppose in that sense it’s privileged. But I don’t know many people who would describe it the way Mr. Mastriano did.”

In 2017, far-right news site Breitbart similarly described the school formerly known as Akiba as “an elite private high school with exorbitant tuition.”

JTA contributed to this report.

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