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Suspicious powder mailed to Jewish Community Center

Posted at 6:45 PM, Nov 01, 2023

UPDATE, Thursday evening: The powder was a "misplaced medication which somehow became crushed within the envelope" and the intent was "not malicious," according to a statement from The Jewish Federation of Omaha.

The full update is here.

Jewish Federation of Omaha statement

Below is the story as originally published on Wednesday.

An envelope with powder mailed to a Jewish organization in Omaha was more than likely meant to scare the recipient, Omaha Police said Wednesday.

It happened at the Jewish Community Center on the Jewish Federation of Omaha campus.

The Omaha Fire Department and Postal Inspection Service determined the substance was not harmful.

OPD Captain Mark Matuza said there was "stationary" in the envelope when asked if the substance came with a letter.

One person went to the hospital as a precaution. OPD was called to the scene at about 8:40 a.m. The FBI was also on scene.

It comes amid increased threats to Jews, Muslims and Arab Americans, as Omaha FBI Field Office Special Agent in Charge Gene Kowel said last week.

Bob Goldberg, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Omaha, said in a statement:

"This morning, the Jewish Federation of Omaha campus encountered a security situation involving a piece of mail containing a suspicious substance. Our internal security team worked with local law enforcement and the FBI to secure the campus until it was determined that there was no danger to the people who live, work, and visit the campus. We are grateful to our partners in law enforcement for their rapid response and commitment to ensuring the safety of our community."

The National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center at the University of Nebraska Omaha held a discussion on the increase in threats on Friday. They posted resources for faith communities here.

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