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Friday, 14 May, 2010 - 4:21 am

Dear Friends,  

In the last few weeks, on our way home from Shul on Shabbat morning, our children have consistently asked to play at the park. Mussi, Rivky and Leibel together with the child of our walking partners, in their Shabbat outfits, run on the slides, swings and all the rest. So it went this past Shabbat.
It was on Tuesday this week when I got a phone call: "Hurry to the park!" I was told. Even the urgency in my friend's voice didn't disclose what I would see minutes later...
Each structure in the playground was covered with a kind of graffiti that I have never seen before with my own eyes. “NO JEWS” it said on the ladder, and “WARSAW GETTHO” on the children's crawling space.  Nazi swastikas were all over the slides. It was very uncomfortable and extremely saddening to see, especially in days when I’m teaching “Beyond Never Again”, a course about the holocaust and anti-Semitism...
I know that this doesn't represent Victoria. We know that the general community here is friendly and tolerant. We have always been received by all, regardless of our Jewish appearance, with respect and a smile. Perhaps this is why I was so shocked – even in Victoria?!
Needless to say, the matter was reported to the Police and to the City of Victoria. The graffiti was removed the very next day.  
It seems like some people may be bothered by the stronger Jewish presence in Victoria. We have some news for them:
What they have seen is just the beginning. Jewish life will flourish on the Island; more people will be returning from Synagogue on Shabbat afternoon, more of us will learn about our heritage, more Jewish children who are proud of their identity will be playing in the parks! AM YISRAEL CHAI!
Comments on: AM YISRAEL CHAI!

Yaniv wrote...

Chazak Chazak Venitchazek!

You should report this to the Simon Wisenthal Institute. They can tell you if it's a phenomenon or a single occurence.

My family in Winnipeg owns a business for the better part of the past 60 years and one day the building where their office is was sprayed with a slogan saying: "Beware Jews live here". That was in the 90s and I don't believe they had experienced anything of this sort again.

Hope your children, you and any other Jew on the Island will never hear, see or feel anything like this.

Shabbat Shalom!

Jack Shalinsky wrote...

I too am horrified!

From global past experience, is there something that we, as citizens of Victoria, can do to respond to this outrage???

Were the police notified and if so what was their response?

Joyce & Irwin Skolnick wrote...

I am shocked to read your blog today. I have been here 13 years and never saw or heard about such hatred. I hope the police can find these people so that they can be punished.
If there is anything or anyone we can write to please let me know so we as Jews can respond to this outrage.

Brian & Lucie wrote...

We are very saddened by this.
How can we better educate those in desperate need of a change of heart?
Jewish, Messianic & Christian communities should come together and take a stand at this park and pray in solidarity. "NEVER AGAIN" yesterday, today & forever.


Julian Isitt wrote...

This should be reported to the local print and broadcast media. Even if promulgators of racism cannot be easily changed, they should at least be shamed. This is a case where I think that would be appropriate. Moreover, it is an opportunity to show the community at large that Jew-baiting did not die with the Holocaust. I don't have the details of the incident myself but if someone does who may be reluctant to involve the media, please let me know and I will follow up.

cathy basskin wrote...

from Windsor, another small community...
Thank you to those whose determination and courage produce positive hallmarks for our community in the face of mindless, hateful behaviors.

Inna Smolov wrote...

We must be proactive, should decide what is best in this case. I am not sure police will find the criminals or if they will consider it a hate crime. If police have an anti-hate crime unit, we should make sure they act upon this horrible crime.
A wide campaign involving our extended Jewish community must be launched.
I am willing to do what is needed.

David Freeman wrote...

It unfortunately had to come sooner or later.

Yvette and I were visiting in Boston some years ago, when something similar happened in a small community nearby.

The outcry was multi denominational and the Catholic Archbishop of Boston, initiated, and together with leaders of every other faith joined in a solidarity gathering at which the Governor of the State, Police Commissioner and others spoke to the very large audience stating that such behaviour would not be tolerated in Peabody (the town where it occurred). It was a moving experience, one which neither of us will forget and it showed that the local community would not accept racism in any form.

I believe that such a public demonstration would be appropriate and we would find out the feelings and attitudes of the leaders of the other faith communities in Victoria.

Bob Greene wrote...

I share with you a sorrow that this could happen here. I have not encountered this sentiment in Victoria and I encourage you in believing for the best from us.
We honour you as our forebears in faith, ethics and hope (beyond Never Again!).
May G-d prosper you. Chag Shavout.
Barach atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-Olam
asher kiddishanu bemitzvotav v'tzivanu lehadlik ner shel yom tov.

Shalom, shalom
Bob Greene, local pastor

Carolin McDonnell wrote...

I am shocked and sickened by this blatant act of antisemitism here in Victoria. Our school is currently showing our Holocaust Memorial and Peace Museum at our school, North Saanich Middle School, in Sidney. Our key phrase is "We Say Never Again". Throughout our work and studies we have explored the steps towards both genocide and peace- vandalism is an act of violence. I will be sharing this with my Gr.8 classes on Monday - and will be asking them how we can respond to this senseless act. It is only through a united front of understanding and respect that we can overcome ignorance and intolerance.
Shalom and Peace be with you all.
If you are interested in our museum please contact me at:

Roy Crichton wrote...

Ignorance begets this; but then people of this sort are not about learning are they? Yet hate is learned, indeed taught by some. Jews are an easy target! You will have to keep fighting - always; for as soon as you stop, you are finished. This is one non-Jew who will remain steadfastly on your side!

Rev. Don Vaughn-Foerster wrote...

It's a sad reality of human life that, as many human beings progress in reason and compassion, others drag along behind them a train of debris of hatred and malevolence. Thank you for your obvious deep respect for humanity despite the disrespect other morally limited people show you. As a Unitarian I feel a great affinity for your history and capacity to see beyond the contaminating history of those who would repress you. Your faith and assurance show that human beings can be kind strong.