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Public invited to stand up against hate and antisemitism at east Toronto menorah lighting

Click to play video: 'Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah in time of rising antisemitism'
Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah in time of rising antisemitism
WATCH: Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah in time of rising antisemitism – Dec 19, 2022

In the wake of an incident involving antisemitic graffiti in east Toronto, the local Beaches neighbourhood synagogue is planning a menorah lighting ceremony to make the start of Hanukkah on Sunday, Dec. 18.

The event, called From Darkness to Light, is open to the public and begins at 5:30 p.m. at Woodbine Park at Queen Street East and Kingston Road.

On Monday evening, a man walking his dog along Queen Street East noticed the graffiti on the sidewalk in front of the Toronto United Mennonite Church.

Bryan Kramer told Global News he felt shaken by the vandalism, adding that “this type of behaviour doesn’t belong.”

“I took a picture and posted on the Facebook Beaches group to see if anyone filed a police report.… No one had done anything so I filed a police report,” he said.

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The incident is now being investigated by Toronto police.

Hanukkah begins at sundown on Sunday and continues through Monday, Dec. 26.

Sunday’s ceremony will see the first candle of the menorah lit.

In a post on Facebook, Chabad of Danforth Beaches said it condemned the “act of senseless hate and bigotry” and called it “deeply disturbing to the local Jewish community.”

“As we are a week before Chanukah and in the spirit of responding to darkness with increasing in light and goodness, we are pleased to announce that we will install a beautiful public Menorah across from the sight of the vandalism,” stated the post.

“This symbol of light and tolerance will serve to galvanize the community into increased acts of goodness and kindness.”

Chabad also asked that anyone join Sunday’s event and stand in solidarity with the Jewish community against hate and antisemitism.

Earlier this week, Brad Bradford, city councillor for Beaches-East York, tweeted about the graffiti, calling it “Unacceptable.”

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“This horrible antisemitism was brought to my attn today and was immediately escalated for removal. I’m continuing to work with City Staff & community to get this addressed. We need to do all we can to keep tackling the alarming increase of antisemitism in Toronto,” he tweeted.

On social media, Chabad thanked the Beaches community for its love and support and gave a shout-out to the City of Toronto and the councillor’s office for helping expedite the permits to put up the menorah in time for Sunday’s event.

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