Update on GTA Jewish Community Security

October 12, 2023, 2:37 PM


Reports are circulating in the community of an attempted stabbing of students in the vicinity of TanenbaumCHAT. We have spoken with Toronto Police Service and with TanenbaumCHAT, and we are writing to update you.


Police have confirmed that some reports circulating are not accurate. Police informed us that no one has been injured and no attempted stabbing has taken place. Verbal threats were made and police are now on scene, including Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw. An investigation of the involved parties is currently underway, with possible charges pending.


Today’s incident underscores the importance of heightened vigilance, preparedness, and rapid reporting. We are grateful that security staff at TanenbaumCHAT quickly called 911 as per protocols and police responded rapidly.


Prior to this incident, we have been meeting and speaking throughout the day with law enforcement in Toronto and York Region about reports of Hamas’ call for a “day of mobilization” around the world.


Our commitment to you is clear: we are directly conveying our community’s concerns and expectations to police. And we are sharing the information and guidance we receive from police with our entire community. 


Following our latest police meetings today, including with Chief Demkiw, law enforcement has shared:

  • The community should exercise heightened vigilance. If you see something, say something. In an emergency, call 911. Sharing unverified security concerns on social media can have unintended consequences—and is no replacement for calling law enforcement directly.
  • Police will have a significantly increased and visible presence in our community tomorrow and into the weekend.
  • Police are also conducting specific preparedness measures to help protect our community that, while not visible, are very significant. As we hope you understand, these measures cannot be publicized for sensitive operational reasons so as not to undermine their effectiveness.
  • Police currently advise regular activities continue—with vigilance—in the Jewish community, and do not advise the closure of Jewish institutions or facilities at this time.

Our responsibility is to gather the latest, most credible information. The assessments we are receiving from multiple security leaders throughout the Jewish world align with what we have received from law enforcement here in the GTA.


We continue to engage with our security partners across Canada, North America, and in Israel. We are also in communication with Public Safety Canada and national security authorities, via the security team at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).


As the situation is fluid, we are continually speaking with those best positioned to keep our community informed. Should police guidance change, we will immediately alert our community. Police have also informed us that they will communicate directly to the public if this guidance changes or if there is a need to close institutions.


While UJA’s policy is to avoid emailing the community or posting on social media on Shabbat, the Jewish principle of saving lives clearly calls on us to override this policy when security developments require it. We will not hesitate to communicate any time or day of the week.


We encourage community members, particularly those in leadership roles at synagogues and other organizations, to consider proactive measures for Shabbat. This should include rapid access to well-charged mobile phones. Extra attention should be paid to ensuring all protocols are being followed. This should include keeping doors locked and ensuring no one enters without being vetted.


After brutally destroying so much innocent life in Israel, it is no surprise that Hamas is now seeking to terrorize innocent Jewish communities around the world. There is immense concern in the community right now—and we very much share that concern. But we also share our community’s determination to not be intimidated from living our lives as proud Jewish Canadians. 


We will continue to do so responsibly, with the support and guidance of police and security experts in the Jewish world.


Am Yisrael Chai,

UJA Community Security