Toronto synagogues vandalised in suspected hate crime

The Kehillat Shaarei Torah synagogue has already been attacked twice this year


Two synagogues in Toronto were vandalised on Saturday night – attacks which the police are investigating as a potential hate crime.

At 3am last night, rocks were thrown through both the B'nai Brith and Kehillat Shaarei Torah synagogues. Both shuls were attacked by the same man, according to Toronto police.

Michael Kerzner, Ontario’s solicitor general, visited B'nai Brith to condemn the attacks. "Any attacks on houses of worship are completely unacceptable,” he said. “We pride ourselves on our diversity and tolerance. Hate has no place in our Ontario!"

Antisemitism is on the rise across Canada, more than doubling from 2022 to 2023. The Kehillat Shaarei Torah synagogue has been vandalised twice before just this year, on May 17 and April 19.

“This is the third antisemitic vandalism that has taken place at our synagogue since April 19th of this year,” Executive Director Michael Gilmore told CNN. “Fortunately, as Jewish generations before us have done, we have come together as a community stronger, more united, and with a greater sense of purpose than ever before,” he said.

“[Antisemitism] is out of control, and must stop,”Judy Foldes, B'nai Brith Canada Chief Operating Officer, shared in a statement the morning after the attacks.

“We implore police forces to monitor Jewish institutions closely and vigilantly during this troubling time for Jewish Canadians,” she continued. Police have said they will increase their presence in the area.

Naftali Bennet spoke out against the attacks online, expressing deep concern for the safety of the Canadian Jewish population. “I expect to see Canada’s leadership stand up firmly against this,” he said.

The Jewish community in Toronto have refused to let the attacks get in the way of their practice. “We’re going to go on,” Carl Zeliger, vice-chaiman of the congregation at B'nai Brith, told Canadian Jewish News. “All [the vandal] accomplished was maybe a five-minute delay in the start of our services,” he said. “We’re going to continue".

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