Toronto man arrested after JCC threatened
TORONTO — Toronto police charged a man with threatening death and mischief against the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre last week, and the Toronto Police Service hate crimes unit is also investigating an envelope containing a letter and a swastika that was sent to Associated Hebrew Schools the same day as the threat against the JCC.
Constable Victor Kwong told The CJN that police were called at 4:15 p.m. on March 5, after the MNJCC received “a succession of e-mails.
“We went on the scene, and it was determined that there were no immediate threats, meaning there was no bomb,” Kwong said.
Harold Lee, 36, is scheduled to appear in court in Old City Hall March 12.
Ellen Cole, executive director of the MNJCC, said last week that the centre – which houses the Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School in addition to fitness facilities and a variety of programs – has the “appropriate protocols and procedures in place. Everyone was out of the building in less than seven minutes… We were given the all clear, and it’s business as usual.”
Doron Horowitz, director of national security for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), who serves as a resource to Jewish institutions, doesn’t believe the two incidents are related.
Elliott Brodkin, Associated’s executive director, told parents and the school’s “community” in a March 8 email that the school received a plain white envelope containing “both a suspicious piece of paper as well as a swastika.” The letter arrived in the regular mail, he wrote.
“At no point was there any specific threat made against anyone at our school,” he told parents.
Brodkin declined to give further details about the letter’s content in an interview with The CJN.
Horowitz called the letter received by Associated “disturbing,” but doesn’t think the community has cause to be concerned because of it. “At no point in time was [Associated] threatened or targeted,” he said.
Horowitz, who works with Jewish schools on an ongoing basis, said he knew of no other related incidents.
Kwong also said there is “nothing to indicate the two incidents might be connected” and that the letter Associated received is being analyzed forensically.
Horowitz said CIJA will continue to provide resources to the community and liaise with law enforcement officials. “We are constantly working with [Jewish institutions] in emergency preparedness.”
Police are asking anyone with information regarding the MNJCC threat to call 14 Division at 416-808-1400. Anyone with information regarding the letter to AHS can call 32 Division at 416-808-3200.