Synagogues And Jewish Institutions Continue To Be Targeted Across Canada

From smashed windows to dead animals, incidents have continued to rack up against Jewish institutions in Canada.

Canadian Anti-Hate Network

Source: Praveen Kumar Nandagiri/Unsplash

A spate of vandalism has continued as synagogues and Jewish institutions have become the target of antisemitic graffiti and messages.

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One of the most disturbing incidents occurred outside of a Toronto synagogue, when two individuals reportedly left a dead raccoon in the parking lot of Kehillat Shaarei Torah (KST) on April 23, about an hour after the start of Passover. 

While raccoons are a common sight in Toronto, staff from the building told Canadian Jewish News that after finding the body a review of security footage showed two individuals pulled into the parking lot in a dark hatchback vehicle and dumped the animal into the parking lot. 

The staff also reportedly added that police noted footage showed the animal previously sitting out in the road, where the two individuals picked it up with a trash bag before dumping it into the parking lot. They threw the bags used to hold the body into the trash. 

A single individual also targeted the same synagogue on April 19, when five windows were smashed with a hammer. There has been little media coverage of this incident, but a report by Canadian Jewish News said security footage showed a masked man committing the act. 

It is not clear if these incidents are related. 

Also in Toronto, on March 27, a resident reported on Linkedin that someone had painted the words “fuck Jews” on the elevator doors of a residential building along with a Star of David. Residents were alerted by a notice from the property manager identifying that the building had been vandalized by a “symbol of hate” but not the contents of the message itself. 

One of the building’s tenants said in a social media post they only found out the contents by looking at the security footage, which they posted online. 

Image posted online by a resident of a Toronto condo building alleged to be part of the antisemitic graffiti painted by an unknown individual. Source: LinkedIn. 


March also saw charges laid against a man who spent around two months allegedly vandalizing businesses and washrooms in the Yorkdale area of Toronto. Police say there were multiple incidents in the area of Dufferin Street and Yorkdale Road between January 20 and March 26.

Police alleged that an 80-year-old Toronto man, Rashid Kurmally, is responsible and has been charged with seven counts of mischief under $5,000. He is scheduled to appear in court near the end of May. 

Near the end of January, a synagogue in Fredericton, New Brunswick also became a target of vandalism. Between January 26 and 27, the Sgoolai Israel Synagogue had the front windows of the building smashed. 

When speaking to the Postmedia, the synagogue’s vice-president called the incident an “act of hate" planned to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

While an investigation was opened into the incident, police announced on April 12 that the case was closed without any charges filed.  

“With insufficient evidence to proceed in the investigation, at this time, no charges will be laid,” police said in a statement. “Should new evidence emerge, police will investigate accordingly.”

Police have been reporting an increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents since the October 7 attack by Hamas against Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza. 

The Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto in North York, Ontario, received a threatening email with the subject line “Death by fire,” on November 17, 2023. The email stated bombs had been planted "in or around the school" and "many Jews were going to die." A total of 1,300 students were reported to be evacuated, according to a statement from Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, as well as from a neighbouring synagogue that included a daycare. 

Police K-9 units searched the school and determined the area to be safe. 

Not the first threat against the same school, on October 12, three males, two minors and one adult were arrested after allegedly entering the property and threatening the school.

In two separate incidents on November 9, two Jewish schools were the victims of late-night shootings. Staff and students of the buildings, located in the city’s Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough, Talmud Torah and Yeshiva Gedola, found bullet holes shot through windows of the buildings overnight. 

According to the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, (SPVM), the first impact bullet hole was reported at 8:20 am by staff at the United Talmud Torahs of Montreal. The facility includes an elementary and high school.

The building was closed when the incident is believed to have occurred and no injuries have been reported. SPVM said in a recorded statement that they were conducting an investigation and reviewing security footage on-site. 

At 8:50 the same morning, another bullet hole was found in the door of Yeshiva Gedola and reported by students to the police. The shooting is also believed to have taken place overnight. 

Yeshiva Gedola includes a daycare, and elementary and high school programs, according to its website.

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