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Jewish Community Center of Syracuse monitors safety while mourning lives lost

The news of casualties from the attack on Israel is starting to impact Central New York. Marci Erlebacher, the Jewish Community Center (JCC) Executive Director, said the community is understandably reeling, but now it’s getting personal.

“Somebody's cousin is murdered at the rave," Erlbacher said. "And an Israeli scout, who we housed with a family here in town in 2010, is one of the dead. That information is now starting to come out. Now is when the really deep mourning is starting to happen."

Erlebacher said they’re trying to help teachers and parents comfort children who may be wondering why their parents are upset.

She also emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety and security of the JCC campus.

“What we have to be fearful of is the lone wolf,” Erlbacher said. “I never thought I would see the day where we would have a bomb threat here, but that happened.”

It was six years ago when multiple Jewish Community Centers received threats. Erlebacher said they further secured the building and took security training.

Other than a suspicious man who knocked over small flags on their front lawn earlier this week, there have been no incidents or threats. On Thursday, DeWitt police arrested a 14-year-old boy after tips linked him to the trampled flags. He faces criminal mischief charges, and will appear in family court.

A state trooper is stationed in front of the building.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at