Evangelical Christian ministries in Alabama raising $100,000 to secure Birmingham JCC

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Several Evangelical Christian ministries in Alabama announced plans to raise $100,000 to help cover additional security at a local Jewish community center.

The Levite JCC in Birmingham has suffered four bomb threats since the beginning of the year and been evacuated each time, disrupting its preschool and exercise facilities. More than half of the children enrolled in the preschool program are not Jewish, AL.com reported this week.

The security upgrades required at the JCC building will cost as much as $1 million, according to reports.

Among the ministries that have pledged to raise the money are the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, The Center for Executive Leadership, Young Business Leaders, Lifework Leadership, JH Ranch, Alliance Ministries and the National Christian Foundation of Alabama. Several major churches have pledged contributions of $5,000 to $10,000, AL,com reported.

The threats are part of a wave that has hit JCCs, Jewish schools and other Jewish institutions since the start of 2017. More than 150 threats have been received since the beginning of the year, according to the Secure Community Network, which coordinates security across Jewish organizations in North America.

An online campaign started by two Muslims raised more than $150,000 to repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery outside of St. Louis, and a crowdfunding campaign started by non-Jewish residents of Philadelphia raised thousands of dollars to fix toppled headstones at a Jewish cemetery in the city.

A Muslim man who started an online fundraising campaign for a Florida mosque damaged in an arson attempt said that many of the donors to the campaign, which raised $60,000, were Jewish, and the Jewish Federation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is raising money to repair a mosque victimized by arson there.