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No Charlottesville in Toronto

It has come to our attention that racist and hateful groups, including neo-Nazis, are planning to march through Toronto’s Downtown core on the anniversary of last summer’s “Tiki Torch March” in Charlottesville, Virginia. Our understanding is they intend to gather for a rally in Nathan Philip’s Square this Shabbat afternoon, Saturday, August 11 between 1:00 and 3:30 pm. While their rally cry is against Muslims, a thick thread of anti-Semitism runs through their organizing rhetoric on social media.

City Councillor Joe Mihevc, who is a real friend to Holy Blossom Temple, has assured us that police are prepared to keep the peace and that legal action is being taken to contain the demonstration while upholding freedom of speech.

Rabbi Splansky has written the following:

Dear Mayor Tory and City Councillors,

I shudder at the thought of scenes from Charlottesville being replayed this weekend in Toronto. How can blatant racism and hate speech be granted a platform in our own city square?

Some are calling for a counter-protest, but I fear that would only draw greater media attention to the fascists or lead to violence, God forbid.  Instead, therefore, I implore you, our trusted civic leaders and elected officials, to protect our good city and our great country from this ugly threat.  Allowing thugs to take charge of Nathan Philip Square would forever be a stain on our global reputation as a safe and just society. We depend on you to do everything in your power to prevent this from happening.  Protect your citizens from witnessing the worst of humanity rise up without fear of consequence.

May God bless you in your work.  May you lead with courage and compassion.  As the ancient prophet gave charge to the people of his day:  “Remove evil deeds from My sight.  Stop doing harm. Learn to do what is right, seek justice, correct the oppressor.”  (Isaiah 1:16-17)

Respectfully and with gratitude,

Rabbi Yael Splansky
Holy Blossom Temple, Toronto’s first synagogue, founded 1856

Should you wish to express your own views on the matter, you may do so by writing to The Mayor at [email protected]
and to your own City Councillor.  Their contact info may be found here. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/council/members-of-council/

May this Shabbat come and go peacefully and with no news of fear or worry.  At our Shabbat tables, we sing “Shalom Aleichem” and implore the angels of peace: “Come in peace. Bless us with peace. Go in peace.”

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Showing 2 comments
  • Johanna Faulk
    Reply

    Bravo, Jeff!

  • Jeff Levy
    Reply

    Just as restricting shouting “fire” in a theatre (or other crowded space) is a common-sense restriction of “free speech” , so blatant expressions of hate directed at any other human MUST be restricted, and made a crime.

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