Police step up security from California to NY; fear grows after Hamas leader calls for 'day of jihad'

Police from San Jose, Calif., to New York City say they are increasing patrols at Jewish schools and places of worship on Friday, the day a Hamas leader described as "Day of Jihad," when he asked his followers to take to the streets and deliver a message of anger.

The J. Weekly reported that three schools on the Peninsula would be closed on Friday, and at least two Jewish schools in New York were also closing their doors on Friday, according to the Israel National News. 

A Stanford University spokeswoman told KTVU that several students said they were scared to come to a physical classroom and so all classes were moved to Zoom on Friday. 

Other institutions, including the Russian-speaking Jewish Community of San Francisco, vowed to stay open, despite the fear. 

"We're taking this extremely seriously," Rabbi Shimon Margolin old KTVU. But despite any concerns, services would go on. 

He hired off-duty police officer to work security around the building, determined to remain vigilant.

"We don't want to live in fear anymore," Margolin said.

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In addition, the Jewish Community Relations Council organized rallies throughout the country on Friday, including in San Francisco, titled "Bring Them Home," in order to put pressure on the Israeli government to bring back the 150 Israeli hostages, who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Saturday. 

However, the JCRC noted that they will have heightened security at the Civic Center event in light of the possible threat. 

San Francisco police said they are on "high alert" and making "passing calls" by places of worship and other community centers that have expressed concerns, despite no credible threats being made.

The current fear stems from what senior Hamas official Ali Baraka said in an interview that aired on Russia Today TV on Tuesday. He said the Hamas attack on Israel had been planned for two years, Fox News reported.

And that was followed by former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal calling for protests across the Muslim world on Friday in support of the Palestinians and for the peoples of neighboring countries to join the fight against Israel.

"[We must] head to the squares and streets of the Arab and Islamic world on Friday," Meshaal, who currently heads Hamas' diaspora office, said in a recorded statement sent to Reuters.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Thursday acknowledged these threatening remarks and suggested that Jewish institutions be on high alert.

The Homeland Security advisor for the state said Thursday that there was no credible threat involving California but that everyone should remain vigilant.   

As for Margolin, he plans to celebrate the Sabbath as he always does with the sun goes down on Friday night.

He'll eat some challah and his wife will bless the candles that welcome in the weekly holiday.

Both will be praying extra hard for peace. 

"We're going to fight darkness with light," Margolin said. 

KTVU's Joey Horta and James Torrez contributed to this report.