TORONTO — Acts of vandalism at five Jewish facilities in suburban Montreal are not isolated, according to the head of the city’s Jewish Community Security Coordinating Committee.
Windows were smashed early Monday morning at four synagogues and a Jewish school in the heavily Jewish suburbs of Cote Saint-Luc and Hampstead.
Rabbi Reuben Poupko, the security committee’s chairman, said the vandals likely attacked early Monday, at approximately 2 a.m.
“There have been similar incidents over the past few months that haven’t garnered any attention,” he told the Montreal Gazette. “It’s increasing in intensity and frequency.”
Police say there is surveillance video available to assist in the investigation. Poupko said security cameras had been installed in the last few years due to the rise in attacks on Jewish communal buildings.
“We felt this was a necessary investment,” he said.
Talking about Monday’s vandalism, Poupko told the Canadian media that “These are cowards who act under the cover of darkness, who fling rocks in the middle of the night, and they will not determine how the Jewish community behaves or gathers for prayer or for study. We will continue to use our institutions despite these continued assaults on our buildings.”
Last March, a synagogue in a neighboring suburb was defaced with swastikas and ritual objects were desecrated.
Two months ago, another synagogue in nearby Laval, Quebec, suffered extensive damage after vandals placed a garden hose into a pipe that led into the building’s oil tank and left it to flood overnight. More than 600 gallons of oil spilled onto the back lawn, causing contamination and other damage to the building.