Regular, in-person Shabbat services returned the day after.
A bomb threat scare at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills on March 18 led to the building being evacuated without incident and Friday night Shabbat services being conducted via Zoom.
Adat Shalom’s Rabbi Aaron Bergman sent out a letter to the community on Friday afternoon with the details.
“At 3 p.m., our office received a phone call from someone with an out-of-state area code who said that he planted a pipe bomb at the synagogue. The building was evacuated immediately without incident, and the police and Federation security were called. The police responded immediately, including with bomb sweeping dogs,” Bergman relayed.
“So far this seems to be a cruel hoax designed to terrorize our communities. We will not allow these terrorists to win. However, out of an abundance of caution, and in order to allow the police to fully investigate every part of the building, we will be having services tonight only by Zoom. We will resume our regular Shabbat services tomorrow morning in the sanctuary, with our regular option to Zoom for those who wish.”
The incident also took place the week of Purim.
“Purim reminds us to always be strong and never give up who we are,” Bergman added. “It was true for our ancestors. It is true for us today.”
Adat Shalom’s Executive Director Michael Wolf says there were only about 5-10 people inside the synagogue at the time of the threat.
“We did what we had to do when we answered the phone call and made sure everyone was safe,” Wolf said. “We’re grateful for the tremendous work the Farmington Hills Police and firemen do, for our rabbis and clergy and we’re grateful to have a caring congregation that looks out for each other.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s most recent Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in the United States, issued in April 2021, recorded 2,024 acts of assault, vandalism and harassment, the third-highest year for incidents against American Jews since ADL started tracking the data in 1979.
The audit showed cases of antisemitism in the state of Michigan rose by 21% from the year prior, which continued a concerning trend of upward increases. The spike represented an increase of 240% since 2016, with 51 incidents total. The 51 incidents placed Michigan at eighth-most in the country.