February 22, 2024
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo was in attendance during the evacuation

A hoax bomb threat forced the evacuation of a Los Altos Hills synagogue on Friday night, according to an email communication sent to congregants from the temple’s leadership.

Authorities say a bomb threat against Congregation Beth Am on Arastradero Road was called into the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement contacted the synagogue, which evacuated its entire campus shortly after Shabbat services had concluded. Among the evacuees was Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the nonprofit J Street.

“While the Sheriff’s Office suspected the call was a hoax, of course they had no choice but to treat it as a credible threat,” the temple’s communication states. “This resulted in their quick dispatch of officers to our campus.” The synagogue said other temples around the state and country have also been the victim of so-called “swatting,” which is when a fake crime is reported to police in an attempt to dispatch law enforcement to a targeted location.

The temple’s leadership said the temple was swept by authorities and deemed safe by 9 p.m. Friday. There will be an increased security presence at the synagogue this weekend.

The synagogue’s president was not immediately available for comment.

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