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Thursday, September 18, 2014

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Calgary rallies in support of Jewish community

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Calgary’s Jewish community was joined by dozens of ethnic, religious and anti-racism organizations last week in a solidarity rally that followed a rash of anti-Semitic incidents.

At least 500 people filled the Archie Boyce Pavilion in a show of support and “to make a statement about the kind of society we want,” said Judy Shapiro, community relations director of the Calgary Jewish Community Council (CJCC).

Shapiro said some 30 community groups joined the CJCC in supporting the rally, among them representatives of aboriginal and gay and lesbian groups.

“The way it came about is that following the incidents, there was an unbelievable outpouring of support for the Jewish community,” she said.

In addition to the rally, the community was offered free graffiti removal service, flowers were left at a defaced Holocaust memorial and offers were received for free signage to replace defaced signs, she said.

About three weeks ago, graffiti was discovered defacing two shuls, a Chabad centre, a Holocaust memorial, mailboxes and private property. Among the phrases left were, “kill Jews,” “six million more,” and “F--- Jews.”

“Everyone was very upset,” Shapiro said. “You get swastikas spray-painted once in a while, but I don’t remember anything of this scope.”

Police are relying in part on a surveillance video from the Chabad centre and have received a number of tips after asking for public input, she added.

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