An anonymous threat was emailed to the Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT) on Friday, prompting school faculty and administration to evacuate immediately. The evacuation comes as Jewish and Muslim communities in Canada face targeting in light of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
“Multiple bombs have been placed in your buildings, and in your car lot. Many Jews will die today,” reads the email.
While a threat like this would be taken very seriously under any circumstance, given the climate of rising tensions brought on by the Israel-Hamas war, it’s an even more startling possibility.
According to Dr. Jonathan Levy, Head of School at CHAT, this is the second threat of this kind since Thursday.
“As a community, we are incredibly upset and outraged that these kinds of antisemitic events continue to take place,” Levy told the media during a press conference on Friday.
“We are incredibly grateful for the response of Toronto Police (and) for the speed with which they have assisted us today as well as over the past number of weeks during this time of increased anti-Semitism and increased signs of hate.”
Levy assisted in getting his students out of the school and to a nearby synagogue, which remains under heavy security. A number of different officers from multiple divisions guided the students to safety.
The Hate Crimes Unit was brought in by Toronto Police as well as the bomb squad and K9 Unit.
The school was able to reopen later in the afternoon after it was inspected and no explosives were found on the premises.
“We thank the Toronto and York Region police services for their professionalism in handling these matters,” said B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn on X. “While we must all exercise increased vigilance, our community will continue to live their lives as proud Canadian Jews.”
“Our leaders, mainly Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, have failed to articulate just how disgusted Canadians are with this form of terrorism. They need to be stronger in their condemnation of these acts and to not curry favour with those who support Hamas but call them out for it and shame anybody who is openly showing anti-Semitism.”
A York Region Jewish daycare, Gan Shalom, was also targeted by people yelling threats from outside their cars, resulting in the daycare being locked down.
A mosque in York Region also reportedly received a bomb threat, prompting York Regional Police to evacuate the building on Thursday.
Following a search of the area, no explosives were found and no one was injured.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said that only a fraction of these incidents are being reported in comparison to how many there actually are, according to City News Toronto.
“We’ve had hundreds of incidents reported to us at NCCM. When we speak to people, really horrific things that have happened to them, have been said to them and done to them and in many cases, they don’t want to report to police, they do not want to speak about it publicly and that’s because of fear of backlash, and fear of being re-targeted,” said Uthman Quick, Director of Communications with NCCM.
“What we saw last night was really horrible,” added Quick. “Thankfully, we haven’t heard of anyone being physically harmed by this event last night but the emotional scars, the trauma we know from these types of events, will continue.”