CIJA has been working closley with law enforcement and our Federation partners in response to recent acts of hateful, antisemitic vandalism in Ottawa. Here is an update from Andrea Freedman, CEO of the Ottawa Jewish Federation:
This week has been a difficult one for our great city and specifically, for our community.
In the past few days, three Jewish facilities have found anti-Semitic slurs and swastikas sprawled on their buildings – at Kehillat Beth Israel this past weekend, at the Glebe Minyan on Tuesday morning, and at Congregation Machzikei Hadas this morning. The Ottawa Police Service responded quickly to all three incidents and are taking this very seriously. Multiple branches of the police department, including the Hate Crimes Unit, have launched a full investigation and are devoting multiple assets to this matter.
As circumstances have unfolded, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), and appropriate community representatives have been working together with the Ottawa Police. The police met with us this morning for a full briefing. They have informed us that there are similarities in all three incidents. There have been no similar hate-motivated crimes in Ottawa recently and there has not been a similar set of incidents in other cities.
Although the police believe there is no elevated threat level, we have asked for an increase in patrols around Jewish institutions. The Ottawa Police consider this investigation a priority, and will be keeping us apprised of further developments.
Federation is reminding communal institutions to maintain constant vigilance, to ensure security equipment is functional and that all procedures and protocols are in place. Federation has offered the services of CIJA’s National Director of Security, Ryan Hartman, to answer security questions and provide assistance as needed.
All acts of racism and hate are unacceptable. We, as the community leadership, understand that acts of anti-Semitism are deeply upsetting for the Jewish community. It is disturbing to see these horrible images on the news and they evoke raw emotions that make each of us feel vulnerable. Yet, as unsettling as this is, it has been enormously comforting to see the outpouring of support from all facets of the Ottawa community.
We will not be intimidated by these cowardly acts, and I encourage each of you to continue on with normal life and show your support by attending synagogue this Shabbat and participating in other community activities.
We continue to appreciate the support and dedication of the Ottawa Police, in whom we have full confidence. As we receive more information, we will continue to update the community as appropriate.
Safety and security are always our top priority and we will continue to work closely with CIJA, the Ottawa Police and our communal institutions.
If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]
CEO, Jewish Federation of Ottawa