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Toronto day school targeted with swastika

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A swastika found painted on a sidewalk near a Jewish day school in Toronto on Nov. 20. ASSOCIATED HEBREW SCHOOL PHOTO

On Monday morning, staff at Associated Hebrew School’s Kamin Education Centre in Thornhill, Ont., found a swastika painted on a public sidewalk near the school.

York Regional Police were called, photographs were taken and the purple swastika was washed off the sidewalk by city workers.

Students never saw the Nazi symbol, as they were off for a professional development day, but parents were informed of the incident by school officials.

“We have been in touch with the York Regional Police and we are co-operating fully with their investigation. They have shared that they believe this to be an isolated incident and that there is no increased risk to our staff, our students,” stated a message to parents from Chaim Cutler, executive-director and CFO of Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto.

“We’re fortunate this didn’t happen on a school day,” Cutler told The CJN.

The incident comes about one-and-a-half weeks after pro-Nazi posters were placed at the Morris Winchevsky Centre in the Bathurst and Lawrence area of Toronto.

Noah Shack, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs’ (CIJA) interim vice-president of the Greater Toronto Area, said that, “We were disgusted to learn of this hateful act outside a Jewish day school. School administrators took all the right steps, contacting police to ensure the incident was dealt with promptly and appropriately.

“CIJA had previously provided security audits to Associated Hebrew Schools and we will continue to provide security support to ensure our community institutions are well protected.”

“The individual who spray painted this anti-Semitic graffiti was clearly targeting the students and staff of the school,” said Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “Thankfully, police quickly responded and are investigating this hateful incident.”

Cutler said parents were “generally concerned” that this took place in their neighbourhood. But it is the first such incident he’s seen in the year or so that he has been at Associated.

The school has security staff on site, as well as other measures to ensure the safety of students.

It’s possible that this was the act of teenagers, he said. “We don’t view this as a major concern.”

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