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Vancouver rabbis stand against antisemitism and with Schara Tzedek after arson attack

Schara Tzedek
Schara Tzedek is the largest Modern Orthodox synagogue in Western Canada. Photo by kennethaw88.

The Rabbinical Association of Vancouver has issued a statement following an arson at an Oak Street synagogue. According to Vancouver police, the fire was deliberately set near the entrance of Schara Tzedek, which is the largest Modern Orthodox synagogue in Western Canada.

“As the rabbis of Vancouver, we all stand against antisemitism and with Schara Tzedek,” the association stated. “We are one Jewish community. We are all a family with one heart. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver states on its website that an individual poured fuel on the front doors and set them on fire.

Ten rabbis signed the Rabbinical Association of Vancouver statement. They said that the last seven months have “been the most difficult time for the Jewish people since the Holocaust”.

“There has never been a more important time for us to remain strong and united,” they declared. “The first chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel, Rav Kook, taught us that when one Jew is hurting, we are all hurting. That is true today for our community in Vancouver.”

The association expressed appreciation for the support and help of the Vancouver Police Department and Mayor Ken Sim.

“Their immediate response was exemplary,” the association noted. “Today we all stand with Rabbi Andrew Rosenblatt and the members and staff at Schara Tzedek.”

Vancouver police and Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services responded to the fire around 10 p.m. on Thursday (May 30). In response, police have stationed additional officers outside synagogues, Jewish community centres, religious schools, and public schools.

“We’re doing everything in our power to solve this crime, while providing reassurance, comfort, and safety to the community,” Const. Tania Visintin said. “We will continue to have a higher police presence in strategic locations throughout the coming days, as this investigation unfolds.”

Anyone with information or with camera footage from their vehicle or home is being asked to call the VPD’s major crime section at 604-717-2541,

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.