WOODBRIDGE, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Police are investigating after a threatening, anti-Semitic voicemail was left at a synagogue in Woodbridge this week. It comes amidst a rise in anti-Semitic incidents both locally and throughout the country.
Around 11:50 a.m. on June 2, Woodbridge officers responded to investigate the threatening message that the Jewish Temple of Congregation Ner Shalom on Spriggs Road received earlier that morning. It's the only synagogue in Woodbridge.
Jillian Perry heard it first.
"The second anything mentions any form of violence, you stop immediately in your tracks," Perry told FOX 5.
She contacted police, who say the voicemail included both threats and inappropriate language. They add that nothing similar has been reported in the area--at least, not this week.
"This isn’t the first time we’ve had that and actually it’s not the first time we’ve had a call this past year, unfortunately," Perry said.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents remained at a historically high level across the U.S. in 2020, including in Maryland, Virginia, and DC.
In Maryland, the ADL says 47 antisemitic incidents were reported in 2020, which is a 135 percent increase from 2019. In Virginia, there were 49 incidents. That adds up to a 75 percent increase. And in DC, 43 incidents in 2020 amounted to an increase of 126 percent.
Gil Preuss, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, says now things may be getting even worse.
"We have seen a significant increase over the past month or two, on top of the increase that we had seen over the past few years in anti-Semitism locally and nationally," Preuss said.
But back in Woodbridge, Perry said even if they are the only synagogue around, at least they know they can count on the local community for support.
"With the Prince William County police and the interfaith community always being there to support us, we never feel alone even with the rise of antisemitism," Perry said.
As with a lot of synagogues these days, Perry said Congregation ner shalom has increased security. So far, no arrest has been made, but the investigation is ongoing.