'No Jews': Anti-Semitic notes left on doors at North York condominium

Toronto police have launched an investigation after the front doors of Jewish residents were vandalized and anti-Semitic notes left behind at a North York condominium.

Police are investigating, saying they are taking the notes, as well as vandalism, 'very seriously'

Some residents of this North York condo building reported finding anti-Semitic notes on their front doors. (Trevor Dunn/CBC)

Toronto police have launched an investigation after the front doors of Jewish residents were vandalized and anti-Semitic notes left behind at a North York condominium.

A number of residents at 233 Beecroft Rd., near Yonge Street, north of Sheppard Avenue, found notes with pictures of swastikas on their front doors, Det. Paul Pabla told CBC Toronto.

At least one of the notes also said "no Jews," according to Pabla.

Resident Helen Chaiton said the mezuzah, a carving with a Hebrew verse that is placed outside the front door, was vandalized at her suite, as well as at the units belonging to other Jewish neighbours.

A complaint was filed with police and an investigation has been launched, Pabla said, adding that investigators are taking the notes "very seriously."

'A great sin against God'

Chaiton, 70, said that her mezuzah was broken by an unknown vandal last week. She didn't see what happened, but a friend who helps her at her apartment found it in pieces.

"I was very, very disturbed," she said, calling such an act "a great sin against God."

Helen Chaiton says two of her mezuzahs were vandalized outside her North York condominium suite. (CBC)

On Sunday evening, her rabbi came by with a replacement mezuzah. But later that night, after she had gone to bed, she heard a chiselling sound outside her door. 

"I certainly wasn't going to open my door if somebody was tampering again with my mezuzah," she said. "I just let it go."

But a persistent knocking at her door led her to call security, and when the guard arrived she opened the door to find her second mezuzah "ripped off the doorpost." 

The mezuzah was gone, but a note was left behind. A yellow Post-it note had the F-word and a swastika in red ink, she said.

'No place in Toronto'

Mayor John Tory condemned the hate-motivated vandalism and said those actions do not reflect the city's spirit. 

"Anti-Semitism has no place in Toronto," the mayor said in a statement released Monday. "Our Jewish residents should not have to face hatred on their doorsteps."

Tory said both council and the city are responsible for both promoting and protecting Toronto's cultural diversity. He issued a similar statement earlier in the week after anti-Muslim protesters called for a ban on Islam outside a downtown mosque.

"The richness of our diversity has contributed immensely to [the city's] greatness, and while we have work to do on inclusion, we are admired the world over," the mayor's statement said Monday. 

More than a dozen people protested outside a Toronto mosque shouting for a ban on Islam while Muslims prayed inside. Tory decried the protest as he did the anti-Semitic vandalism. (SafiahC/Twitter)

'Tip of the iceberg'

Chaiton, whose parents survived the Holocaust, said she doesn't know who vandalized both of her mezuzahs, but her guess is that it was someone who lives in her building.

When asked if she viewed the vandalism as a sign of more intolerance in the city given recent incidents of racism and Islamophobia in the GTA, Chaiton agreed.

"It's the tip of the iceberg," she said. "We don't even know the extent that it goes down deep."

With files from Trevor Dunn and Laura Fraser