‘Death by fire’: Police evacuate Jewish school in North York following emailed bomb threat
Posted November 17, 2023 12:32 pm.
Last Updated November 17, 2023 7:19 pm.
For the second time in just over a month, a threat was made against the same Jewish high school in North York.
Approximately 1,300 students at Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto on Wilmington Avenue were evacuated from the school as a precaution after a bomb threat was received around 11:15 a.m. Friday.
A large police presence, including the K9 unit, searched the building before determining there was no further threat to the community.
Dr. Jonathan Levy, the head of the school, said they had received an email with the subject line “Death by fire” which claimed “Multiple bombs have been placed in your buildings, and in your car lot. Many Jews will die today.”
“As a community, we are incredibly upset and outraged that these kinds of antisemitic events continue to take place and we think that it is essential that all Torontonians and all Canadians react with shock and anger and upset to these kinds of events,” said Levy. “All of our students, all staff, all people deserve to live in an environment where they can come to school and go to work free of these kinds of threats.”
A social media post by the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto said this latest incident further highlights the need for Jewish institutions to maintain a high level of readiness and security.
“We are concerned and outraged by this incident, which is just the latest in a growing number of antisemitic hate crimes in Toronto,” read the Facebook post. “Jewish institutions should ensure protocols are being followed, particularly access controls at building entrances. Voicemail and email in-boxes should be regularly checked, and any suspicious or threatening messages reported without delay.”
Police said they were investigating the source of the threat but provided no further details as to its possible origins.
“We understand that there are people in our community that don’t want to display who they are and that’s a horrible thing and anything that we can do to support the community at a time like this, we will do whatever we can,” said Toronto Police Insp. Jack Gurr.
This is the same school which was the focus of a hate-crime investigation last month after online threats were received. In that instance, two teens and a man were charged with making threats after a group of Jewish students were threatened outside the school.
Police forces across the GTA have increased patrols around Jewish communities as well as cultural centres, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war in the Middle East.