2. A swift and robust security response in the GTA.
With the global Jewish security situation calling for heightened vigilance, we have been in constant contact with local law enforcement. As promised by police, there is a strong, visible police presence in our community today in Toronto and York Region, which will continue into the weekend. There have also been substantial precautions that police have undertaken that cannot be publicly discussed for security reasons, but are very significant in keeping our community safe.
UJA Community Security has worked to keep police informed about our needs, to receive intelligence and updates, and to share this information as clearly and rapidly with our community as possible. We will continue doing so. As of Friday, police continue to report that there is no indication of a specific local threat to our community. This aligns with assessments from our security partners in Canada, North America, and Israel. Please remain vigilant—if you see something, say something to police. In an emergency, call 911.
3. A resilient community caring for each other.
UJA Genesis and UJA’s social services team issued a request for mental health professionals to volunteer their time—and more than 250 have already answered the call. With many in our community having direct connections to those in the war zone, the needs are growing and requests for help are coming in. Thanks to our incredibly talented and caring community, many who are traumatized won’t have to pay or sit on waiting lists for professional support.
We have also provided resources to our network of Jewish education and identity partners (such as day schools, PJ Library, synagogues, and Israel engagement programs) to equip parents and those working with our children to speak about what’s happening in meaningful, appropriate ways.
4. A powerful show of unity and solidarity.
In just 24 hours, we gathered tens of thousands of community members for an Emergency Rally at Mel Lastman Square. In addition to top political officials from across party lines, and from all three levels of government, it was especially encouraging to be joined by leaders and grassroots supporters from various faith and cultural communities. This included representatives from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Canada India Foundation, the Eritrean Canadian Community Centre, Manor Road United Church, and the Network of Azerbaijani Canadians, as well as Iranian Canadians who oppose the Tehran regime.
If you missed the rally, you can watch it here.
This is just the beginning. No matter how long this crisis lasts, we won’t stop. We will continue mobilizing the full resources of our incredible Greater Toronto Jewish community to rise to this historic crisis.
We will be there for Israelis. We will be there for our community. Every step of the way.
As we head into Shabbat, we call on our entire community to pray for the protection and strength of the people of Israel—as well as our global Jewish family, as our strength is being tested in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
We encourage you to light an extra candle tonight in memory of Israelis who have been murdered and in solidarity with Israelis who are being held hostage in Gaza. And we urge you to continue everything you are doing to speak out, to give to those who are hurting, to show your love for Israel—and to show the world who we are.
Shabbat Shalom and Am Yisrael Chai,