Dear Haverim (Friends)
We have had an incident at the synagogue that required police intervention. You may have read something regarding this incident through the news or social media.
A mentally ill person brushed past a Gan Shalom (daycare) parent and managed to enter the building not due to any fault of the daycare parent. Another daycare parent quickly called emergency 911 and the police were dispatched. The police were remarkably responsive, communicative and efficient. Our day care children were never in a dangerous situation and for most of the incident they were not aware that anything unusual was happening.
This mentally ill man held himself up in the balcony of the sanctuary; we were not successful at talking him down and out of the building. The police provided a transit bus for the daycare to transport the children to the other Gan Shalom daycare and the children felt like they were going on a field trip. It took the police a bit of force to subdue and retain the intruder and we are left with some broken windows and a mess to clean up. I am super thankful to Victoria’s finest for their professionalism in containing this situation and ensuring that everyone was safe.
This incident had nothing to do with antisemitism and could have occurred in any downtown building. The incident is a difficult and powerful reminder of the intensity and difficulties associated with our current mental health crisis.
I want to also state that the Gan Shalom staff and Gan Shalom parents who stayed by to ensure that the children were safe were remarkable and very calm. We are very safe, our protocols were tested and proved efficient.
With blessings of peace and wholeness