© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

ELPD investigating threat to Jewish congregation

An image of the Shaarey Zadek building in the winter.
Megan Schellong
ELPD says Shaarey Zadek was targeted by a bomb threat Sunday. The department says there is no credible threat to the congregation or to the public.

The East Lansing Police Department is continuing to investigate a threat to a synagogue after a bomb threat was reported at Congregation Shaarey Zedek.

East Lansing law enforcement received a call Sunday morning that a bomb threat had been sent via email to the Jewish congregation. Officers determined there was no current threat to the congregation or public at large.

Deputy Police Chief Chad Pride said the department is working with state and federal partners to investigate the incident.

“We will continue this investigation as it is open," Pride said. "To try to see if we can hold somebody accountable for this threat, as this threat is not acceptable."

Synagogue leadership said congregations across the state and country received similar messages over the weekend. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reportsthat nearly 200 bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions were made within a 24-hour period on Sunday.

"We are grateful to the East Lansing Police Department and we continue to be vigilant about security," said Rabbi Amy Bigman in an email.

It's not the first threat made against the East Lansing synagogue this year.

In June, a 19-year-old Michigan man was charged with threatening mass violence at Congregation Shaarey Zedek.

According to the Justice Department, Seann Pietila previously lived near Michigan State University’s campus and made several antisemitic posts and threats of violence online. FBI agents found he possessed a cache of weapons at his home in the Upper Peninsula, where they also discovered a Nazi flag.

Pietila pleaded guilty to a federal crime in October and is facing a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Pride said police have been in touch with local religious communities prior to the onset of the Israel-Hamas war, which has since drawn a surge in reports of antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents.

"We've had an open communication with Shaarey Zedek, the Islamic Center and the Jewish [MSU] Hillel center just to be able to provide context and making sure that they know we are here to help them in any way," Pride said. "This is something that’s been going on for many months.”

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!