Eight Canadian synagogues – including Beth Ora and Shaare Tzedec in Montreal – received hate mail this holiday season.

The words “Jewry must perish” leave no doubt about what the letter’s author had in mind when he printed up his copies, put a Christmas stamp on the envelope, and sent them on to the eight Canadian synagogues.

Aside from the bold swastika that’s enclosed within a bleeding yellow Star of David that’s meant to refer to the infamous yellow stars that identified Jews on the streets of Nazi-occupied Europe, the author used a font that refers to the Hebraic text that used to provide a visual reference point that defined anti-Semitic propaganda posters during the Nazi era.

The SPVM’s hate-crime squad is taking the matter very seriously as are police forces across the country. Montreal’s Mayor Valérie Plante is aware of the situation. During a Tuesday press conference, she said that dealing with hate crime has become a collective responsibility that includes everybody “…from politicians to journalists to citizens” who must all pay attention to rumours and be vigilant against those who spread the hate.

“This is not who we are,” she said. “We are a tolerant and inclusive city, and we intend to stay that way.”

“It’s unfortunate at this time of the year, with the Jewish community celebrating Hanukkah…that you have a message of targeted hate that’s going out to religious institutions across the country,” said B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn as he referred to the high-profile neo-Nazi rallies in Charlottesville, Va., and to other incidents such as the anti-Semitic posters that suddenly began to appear on university campuses across the country.

“Unfortunately some (people) feel emboldened…at this moment in history to express hate toward identifiable groups and Jews in particular,” Mostyn added.

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