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York Regional Police investigate 'offensive message' incident at Vaughan synagogue
Nov. 20, 2023
Andrew Palamarchuk

York Regional Police (YRP) are investigating after a hateful message was taped onto the door of a Vaughan synagogue Tuesday evening.

Police were called to the Chabad Maple Community Centre for Jewish Life at 9960 Dufferin St., at 9:30 p.m.

“The complainant reported that an unidentified person had taped a paper to the door with an offensive message directed toward the Jewish community,” Sgt. Clint Whitney said in an email Thursday, adding the “matter is under investigation.”

Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca called the message “deplorable.”

“I have just learned that there was a deplorable anti-Semitic message that was posted at Chabad House of Maple last evening. I have spoken with YRP and am outraged that this has occurred in our city,” he said on X, formerly called Twitter, Wednesday afternoon.

“Anti-Semitism, and the hatred of Jews that is at its core, has no place in Vaughan. We will always strive to build a tolerant, inclusive and diverse community that stands strongly against all forms of hate,” Del Duca added.

Rabbi Chezky Deren of Chabad Maple Community Centre for Jewish Life called the incident “disturbing” in an email to congregants Wednesday night.

“Someone stuck this vile and hate filled anti-Semitic message on the door of the Chabad House,” he said in the email, which also contained a photo of the note that was taped to the door. “A vigilant member of a local community watch recorded the entire incident and got a video of the perpetrator and licence plate number of her car. This was reported immediately to York Regional Police. Special constables came to the Chabad House and assured us that this will not be taken lightly.”

“The mayor called me (Wednesday) afternoon to express his outrage with what happened and his support for the community, which we very much appreciate,” he said. “We trust that the authorities will follow up and prosecute” the perpetrator to the full letter of the law.”

Deren said his community's response to the incident is to increase in light, goodness, kindness and love. “You can't chase away darkness with a broom. Darkness is expelled with light,” he said. “We're going to double our efforts (and) bring the community together to be stronger, prouder than ever before.”