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In The Wake Of Tragedy, Overland Park JCC Flooded With Condolences

Laura Ziegler

In the weeks since a gunman shot and killed three people at Jewish facilities in Overland Park, Kan., hundreds of cards, letters and other expressions of sympathy have poured in.

Jacob Schreiber, President and CEO of the Jewish Community Center said a number of the written expressions are displayed on a bulletin board in the center’s lobby. Some of the expressions of sympathy include:

  • A card from a little girl in New Jersey with a $1 donation for the JCC
  • 300 cards from an Olathe, Kan., elementary school
  • A banner from a Kansas City Islamic society filled with signatures
  • From Temple Saini in Rosalyn, N.Y., some handmade HAMSAs. The name "HAMSA” comes from the Hebrew word “hamesh,” and means five.
  • Spreads of food from a number of Kansas City area eateries including Dean & DeLuca and Panera Bread
  • Condolences from Christ the King Catholic School in Omaha, Neb., and a spread of bagels from the Jewish Community Center in Denver, Colo.

Known anti-Semite Frazier Glenn Cross, also known as Glenn Miller, has been arrested and charged with the April 13 murders. 
Activities have since resumed at the Center’s theater, the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy and the fitness center. In the wake of the tragedy, the JCCannounced additional security measures.

Schreiber said in an email to JCC members that the leadership of the JCC had been meeting with Overland Park Police as well as the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to “pinpoint additional ways to best safeguard all who visit the Jewish Community Center.”

Schreiber went on to say “an armed presence, some of it visible, will present indefinitely in and around our facility during the majority of our operating hours.” He declined to go into detail.

The Center will institute in-depth staff training, a “See Something, Say Something” awareness campaign and a crisis communication network.

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