Four Synagogues, Jewish School Vandalized in Montreal

Speaking with Haaretz, local Rabbi says that while anti-Semitic incidents occurred in the past, recent attacks are 'by far the most severe.'

Canada's Jewish community is concerned over the orchestrated vandalism on four synagogues and a Jewish school in Montreal, where windows were shattered on Saturday night.

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Although anti-Semitic incidents have occurred before, "Saturday night's attacks is by far the most severe series of attacks," Rabbi Reuben Poupko of Cote St. Luc's Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation and chairman of Montreal's Jewish Community Security Coordinating Committee told Haaretz.

He said the authorities were dedicating resources to apprehending the perpetrators and securing Jewish facilities.

Saturday's incidents reminded Canada's Jews they too face similar dangers as other Jewish communities around the world.

"We take it seriously, we had attacks in the past, our job is to protect our institutions. We can't stop everything, but we're gratified by the authorities' quick response," he said.

"People in the community feel violated, they view the synagogues and the Jewish schools as their second home, and they are deeply troubled and distressed," he said.

While he could not go into the details of the investigation, Poupko police had collected more evidence and were optimistic.

Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz of Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem in Cote St. Luc told Haaretz, "Vandalism like this is in some ways like terrorism - you don't know what the people involved are capable of, and what they may do next time ... we will have to tighten security, and make sure we can prevent similar attacks and worse in the future."

Last year vandals painted swastikas on a synagogue in Montreal and flooded another one with gasoline, causing damage to the building.