Community comes together to support Fredericton’s vandalized synagogue
Broken windows were repaired and healing began as people began to gather for a vigil outside the Sgoolai Israel Synagogue in downtown Fredericton on Sunday afternoon.
People gathered to show their support for the community, after the congregation arrived to celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday and found the front windows of the building broken.
“We got a lot of good words yesterday and a lot of good action today,” said Daniel Chippin, who sits on the synagogue’s board of directors.
More than 100 people showed up to show their support for the community, and a GoFundMe was set up for the synagogue.
The vandalism occurred on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and on the heels of the highest court for the United Nations ordering Israel to take measures to prevent and punish the direct incitement of genocide in its war on Gaza.
People who support Palestinians and Israelis clashed at the events, but on Sunday, a group from Fredericton Palestine Solidarity came to show support.
“Antisemitism is a problem in North America until there is a Canada, and we do not want to see it in our community and we hope to be able to show our friends and neighbors if they experience it,” said Angus Fletcher, who spoke for the group.
Rise of antisemitism
There has been a rise in both antisemitism and Islamophobia since war broke out between Israel and Hamas in October, across Canada and around the world.
Ayten Kranet, who attends the synagogue, was shocked that someone would do this.
She used to live in the United Kingdom, but moved to Fredericton after her daughter experienced antisemitism there. He hopes his new community is safe.
“I hope that antisemitism will stop, and that people will be more conscious and more educated and understand what’s going on,” Kranet said.
He didn’t used to feel unsafe in Fredericton, but he says that has changed. He didn’t know if he would stay in Fredericton.
“We have to be more careful,” Kranet said.
Kranet said it was good to see how many people showed up to support the Jewish community on Sunday.
“I think we need that and I think we need more people to see us and show their support,” Kranet said.
Chippin said he didn’t expect an act of vandalism like this to happen in Fredericton, but he doesn’t think it reflects the views of the community.
“I think there are one or two people who want to do this thing, and we have a huge, overwhelming majority of people who support us,” Chippin said.
The synagogue plans to add security cameras to the building.
“We’re a little lax on security because we didn’t think it would come to a place like Fredericton, but I think we’re going to start taking it more seriously now.”
As of Sunday, Fredericton police had no update on their investigation into whether the vandalism was the result of a targeted conflict.