Incoming storm (illustration)
Incoming storm (illustration) iStock

A rare severe storm with hurricane level winds that hit Ontario and Quebec on Saturday had a serious impact on Jewish communities in both provinces.

Ottawa’s Jewish cemetery – Jewish Memorial Gardens – sustained significant damage, with dozens of gravestones hit by falling trees, the Canadian Jewish News reported. The stones are either damaged or fell over. Many trees also uprooted and tore up new fencing that had been installed.

The massive storm left thousands in parts of Ontario and Quebec without electricity for several days, including in the heavily Jewish Thornhill neighborhood in Toronto suburb Vaughn. The electricity outage was felt at Israel’s mission in Ottawa, with several staff losing power in their houses for an extended period of time.

Jewish schools and synagogues also lost power for several days, the Ottawa Federation said.

The Jewish Federation in Ottawa turned the Soloway Jewish Community Centre into a temporary shelter for people needing to take showers, recharge devices or use the restroom.

The Associated Hebrew Schools in Toronto was badly damaged by the storm, with tents and chairs around the play area in the parking lot receiving the brunt of the strong winds and rain.