Vandalism at Côte-St-Luc synagogue not motivated by antisemitism: Jewish groups

The recent vandalism at a small synagogue in Côte-St-Luc was not motivated by antisemitism, Jewish groups said on Friday.

The destruction at the Congregation Kol Yehoudah, located in the basement of a private home, was discovered last week. But since the synagogue has been closed due to the pandemic, it’s unclear when it took place.

A congregant said several religious items were tossed to the floor and someone stuffed prayer shawls in a toilet. There was also graffiti on a wall.

But Jewish groups, including Federation CJA and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, released a statement Friday saying they have no reason to believe at this point the vandalism was motivated by antisemitism.

After consulting with the Montreal police, the groups don’t believe the synagogue was targeted for being a Jewish institution. Part of the reason is that it isn’t identified as such from outside and is only a few doors away from one of Côte-St-Luc’s largest synagogues.

“While it is painful and unacceptable to experience any sort of vandalism to a synagogue and to sacred objects, this criminal act appears to be a case of breaking and entering,” Federation CJA CEO Yair Szlak said in the statement.

“Damage inside a place of worship and to ritual items always tugs at our heartstrings, but we must be guided by the facts,” Szlak added. “To date, there are no indications or telltale signs of a crime … motivated by antisemitism.”

The Montreal police are investigating the crime.

Source: Montreal gazette