A pair of acts at a Saskatoon synagogue have highlighted both the compassion of the community, as well as the lingering hate that persists among some.
Heather Fenyes, a board member at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, was on Gormley Tuesday morning to talk about the local Jewish community’s reaction to the news of 11 people being gunned down Saturday at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa.
She opened her remarks by detailing an act of vandalism that reportedly happened at the Congregation Agudas Israel synagogue and community centre at 715 McKinnon Avenue.
Overnight, someone apparently smashed the building’s doorbell off and then ripped the wires out.
“Obviously, I can’t conclude that it’s related. But it would be folly not to make the assumption that there’s some connection to what’s happening in the world in general and in Pittsburgh, specifically,” Fenyes said.
She added that the incident brought home the continued challenges faced by Jewish people.
“And so something that is already incredibly personal, I think, to every Jewish person all over the world has a whole new layer for us here in Saskatoon.”
The synagogue has been targeted by vandals before including an attack in April 2002, which saw someone throw a firebomb into the building’s library.
Fenyes said that incident caused the community to rally in support, as has the shooting in Pittsburgh.
“The same thing this time: the outpouring of goodwill and love and support is staggering. But, we can’t ignore these other broken doorbells that are metaphoric and literal rings and calls for attention,” she said.
Fenyes said another act on Monday showed a different, more positive side of Saskatoon in reaction to the Pittsburgh shooting.
“I should also say that yesterday we found a rose laid in front of the building, which was a beautiful, beautiful gift.”
The Congregation Agudas Israel synagogue will host a prayer service and vigil starting Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. for those killed in Pittsburgh. The service is open to all members of the community.