Another attack on a Montreal Jewish institution, although as of this writing the police aren’t yet calling it a “hate crime.” Still, it’s a little hard to imagine what else it might be:
Workers at the Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre in Montreal’s west end reported hearing an explosion late Tuesday night. “A homemade bomb exploded and there was a small fire,” said police spokesperson Lynne Labelle. The crude device resulted in no injuries and what little damage it caused was washed away by Wednesday’s rain, she said.
But with the explosion coming right in the middle of Passover week and two days before the third anniversary of the firebombing of the United Talmud Torahs elementary school library, many in the Jewish community are concerned.
Jewish institutions around the city put several security measures in place after the United Talmud Torahs was torched in April 2004.
Three people were eventually arrested in that case.
Security measures were further heightened last fall when another Hasidic school was firebombed.
About nine months ago a Seattle Jewish community building was attacked with one woman murdered and five others injured.
To my knowledge, many Jewish institutions have implemented security plans intended to minimize the possibility of such attacks. However, at the end of the day, there is a balancing act between letting people go about their normal every day business and providing reasonable and affordable security measures. Obviously, as has already happened in Jewish areas of France, it may be time for Jews in Montreal – and perhaps other parts of North America – to evaluate carefully whether they have taken necessary precautions and to take them where needed.