Toronto police say they are searching for a suspect wanted in connection with vandalism that occurred at a synagogue on Wednesday.
A synagogue near Eglinton Avenue West and Allen Road was spray painted with anti-Semitic graffiti police say after receiving a call at around 9:30 a.m.
Investigators have a released security camera image of the suspect. The suspect is described as a man, five-foot-eight with a skinny build. He was wearing blue jeans, a dark coloured t-shirt, baseball cap, black running shoes and a black backpack.
Rabbi Aaron Flanzraich, of Beth Sholom Synagogue, issued a statement regarding the incident at the place of worship.
“Staff and visitors to our Synagogue were shown a chilling symbol of hate: a swastika. It, along with graffiti, was spray painted alongside the main entrance of the building,” Flanzraich wrote.
“As the police swiftly responded and our collective shock settled, we realized that this is far from being done. Long after the offensive images are removed, we will be left with the memory and message of it: antisemitism is not something distant,” Flanzraich continued.
Toronto Mayor John Tory also responded to the incident at Beth Sholom Synagogue offering support for the synagogue and to the Jewish community.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in our city and I will never hesitate to speak out about these acts of hatred and stand with our Jewish community against this kind of vandalism, discrimination, and abuse,” Tory said.
“I encourage people to report any acts of hatred so that police can fully investigate them,” Tory added.
Ontario’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also commented on the incident calling it “painful and disturbing.”
“My heart is with the Beth Sholom community & Jewish communities in the GTA, Montréal & nationwide facing multiple acts of anti-Semitic vandalism,” Horwath continued. “Urgent government action to fight rising antisemitism & white supremacist hate is long overdue.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1300 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.