Just a few days before the solemn day of Tisha B’Av, a synagogue in Toronto, Canada was defaced and anti-Semitic graffiti was spray-painted onto the side of the building.
CTV News reported on Friday that staff members of the Beth Tikvah Synagogue were shocked to find a red-and-black swastika stenciled onto the exterior of their building. The swastika was accompanied by the phrase “Islam will rule.”
Toronto Police were reportedly analyzing the handwriting and stencil used in the graffiti in hopes of finding the person or group responsible for it. They told the CBC they are reviewing surveillance videos from the synagogue and from the Robbins Hebrew Academy, a Jewish day school which operates in the same building, in hopes that the culprits were caught on tape.
One of the synagogue’s rabbis, Rabbi Jarrod Grover, said Friday that his synagogue would beef up security following the incident.
“We’re a synagogue,” he told The Toronto Star. “We’re not in the business of turning this place into Fort Knox. But part of being a synagogue in Toronto in 2011, unfortunately, is investing a rather appalling amount in safety and security.”
The rabbi was quoted by the CBC as having said, “I don’t think you can picture anything more cowardly than going to a synagogue and spray painting a hate message on the back of a wall.”
Grover added the incident has resulted in “an outpouring of support” from across the country, “including Muslim organizations who have denounced the hate messages that are implied in this message.
“I know that most people in this city, the great majority of them, take this as a personal attack,” he told CBC. “It is not just against our synagogue or against the Jewish community, but really a message of hatred that is exposed to all the good and decent citizens in this city.”
Meanwhile, the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy has also been contacted for assistance. A statement released by the council on Friday said: “Our primary concern is for the safety of Beth Tikvah, its staff, and congregants. We will remain vigilant in the wake of this disturbing and offensive event.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)