Suspicious Package Found Saturday at Florida Synagogue
“We try to keep vigilant at the synagogue, and it’s not new, not necessarily since the Pittsburgh attacks, but we’ve been vigilant there ever since 9/11,” Etz Chaim Synagogue President Dr. Scott Ackerman said.
- By Jessica Davis
- February 13, 2019
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigated on Saturday a suspicious package found inside the Etz Chaim Synagogue. No hazardous material was found.
Synagogue President Dr. Scott Ackerman, who was out of town at the time, told First Coast News that he spoke to a JSO officer who told him the bomb squad had been called to the building due to a suspicious package found inside. Ackerman said San Jose Boulevard was shut down during the investigation, but an all-clear was given at about 11:20 a.m.
Ackerman said he appreciated that congregants observing the Sabbath called the police when they noticed something suspicious.
“We try to keep vigilant at the synagogue, and it’s not new, not necessarily since the Pittsburgh attacks, but we’ve been vigilant there ever since 9/11,” Dr. Ackerman said.
Concerns about security have been further heightened after the mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which left 11 people dead and many others injured.
Etz Chaim Synagogue has security measures in place in case of an emergency, including an off-duty police officer near the house of worship. Ackerman said the synagogue works closely with the JSO and the FBI to notify them of any threats to the community.
“I think Jacksonville is great. The Jewish community in Jacksonville is cohesive and a strong part of our community,” Ackerman said. “And thank God in Jacksonville, we don’t experience much in the ways of antisemitism.”
According to a JSO spokesperson, an off-duty officer notified dispatch about the suspicious package and the area was evacuated.
"We took extra safety precautionary steps to ensure the public's safety due to the proximity of the item to the synagogue on Sabbath day," JSO said.
No hazardous material was found and there was no threat to the community discovered.
Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.