Scene cleared after suspicious package arrives at Pikesville synagogue

Police and rescue crews responded to a synagogue in Pikesville, Md. after multiple people claimed they were sickened when they opened a suspicious package on Monday.

Initial reports indicated that the envelope had been delivered to Beth El School, a Jewish preschool adjacent to the synagogue.

Two adults were evaluated by emergency personnel for mild symptoms.

No one was transported from the scene, and crews were unable to find any suspicious substance.

The Baltimore County Fire Department and HazMat crews responded to the scene at around 2:45 p.m. shortly after it was reported. The scene was cleared just before 3:30 p.m.

The community offered the following comment:

Dear Beth El Community,

We would like to take this opportunity to update the community with an accurate accounting of the events today at Beth El. This afternoon one of our staff members received what appeared to be a suspicious letter that came to the synagogue's administrative offices. We followed our internal protocols and procedures including calling 911. Staff members were evacuated from the synagogue administrative offices, and based on guidance from the Police and other professional experts, all of our students remained safe in their classrooms with their teachers. In coordination with the Police and Fire Departments, we set up a dismissal system for parents and grandparents who wished to pick up their children or grandchildren. After thorough and complete assessments from the Baltimore County Police and their Hazmat team, no dangerous substances or materials were found, and we were given the all clear. We are grateful to the entire Beth El staff including the teachers who responded quickly and efficiently to the situation at hand. We also want to thank the Baltimore County Police and Fire Departments and all of their teams for their swift response and for their guidance and support throughout the ordeal. Our staff is regularly training and preparing for emergency situations, and we will always err of the side of caution whenever there's the possibility of a risk or threat. The security and safety or our Beth El community is paramount.

In gratitude,

Denise Franz

Rabbi Steven Schwartz
Senior Rabbi

Joshua Bender
Executive Director