2 Edmonton synagogues receive anti-Semitic hate mail sent across Canada

Two Edmonton synagogues have been the recipients of anti-Semitic hate mail sent across Canada this week.

‘It’s clearly the work of people who are out to destroy the wonderful society that we have here in Canada’

A Toronto synagogue opened this letter on Monday, the same one sent to at least four other synagogues in the country, including two in Edmonton. (B'nai Brith Canada)

When Rabbi Daniel Friedman heard that someone at Edmonton's Beth Israel Synagogue had opened a letter without a return address, he knew it wasn't going to be good. 

The letter read "Jewry Must Perish," which accompanied a bleeding star of David with a swastika drawn over it.

"Shock, horror, but we recognize that these people are fringe and don't represent the vast majority of peace-loving wonderful Canadians," said Friedman Tuesday.

He was just as shocked to find out Temple Beth Ora, another Edmonton synagogue, had also received the same letter.

Jewish advocacy organization B'nai Brith Canada has reported similar letters were also found in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Hamilton. They suspect there's more that haven't been reported.

"It's clearly the work of people who are out to destroy the wonderful society that we have here in Canada," said Friedman.

Menorahs are lit at Temple Beth Ora as the synagogue celebrates another year of Hanukkah. (Temple Beth Ora)

At Temple Beth Ora, where the letter arrived on Friday, Rabbi Gila Caine said despite the hateful letter, worshippers have been more focused on celebrating Hanukkah.

"That has been most of the conversation and I think that, for me, that's a really good sign," said Caine.

She wondered if the letters are a backlash toward religious minority groups working together in harmony.

"There's people that are afraid that their perception of reality is going to change," she said.

'We're too used to it'

Debby Shoctor, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Canada, said she's used to the anti-Semitic hatred.

"We are all shocked and saddened that people would do something like that in this day and age, but unfortunately over the years we've seen a lot of this," said Shoctor.

"These types of people tend to do these things at holidays and on specific days so I think they picked Hanukkah as a target date this year and I think that's why they're being received now."

The Edmonton police hate crimes unit is investigating the letters, and is in contact with other police departments across Canada where the letters were received.