|EMSB CONDEMNS FIREBOMBING OF OUTREMONT JEWISH DAY SCHOOL|
MONTREAL, SEPTEMBER 5, 2006- The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) wishes to denounce in the strongest of terms last weekend’s firebombing of the Skver-Toldos Orthodox Jewish boys school in Outremont.
"We are deeply disturbed by this cowardly act," said EMSB Chairman Dominic Spiridigliozzi. "A school is a place to learn. Obviously the individual who committed this act is in need of some serious education. We hope he is brought to justice."
The EMSB has contacted the school and offered its support. Over the last number of years, the EMSB has undertaken programs aimed at promoting tolerance and intercultural relations. When the United Talmud Torahs (UTT) library was bombed, EMSB schools responded immediately with personal visits and donations of books. The EMSB’s Holocaust Sensitization program regularly brings students, most of whom are not Jewish, for visits to the Montreal Holocaust Museum. Last year, the EMSB undertook an elaborate program in which Laurier Macdonald High School in St. Léonard was twinned with Bialik High School in Côte Saint-Luc. There were exchange visits and the two schools worked together on a project which culminated with the renaming of the former Wagar High School after Italian Holocaust hero Giovanni Palatucci. The schools plan to continue the exchange this year, with an event planned at Bialik on October 30. Other schools have engaged in such exchanges as well.
Next Monday, September 11, EMSB representatives have been invited to attend a Canadian Club Luncheon at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel where Bank of Montreal (BMO) CEO Tony Comper will unveil plans to launch the FAST (Fighting Anti-Semitism Together) program in Quebec in 2007. FAST is a coalition of non-Jewish Canadian business and community leaders who have come together to speak out against antisemitism and to fund education and other projects that encourage other non-Jews to speak out. It was founded by Mr. Comper and his wife Elizabeth in response to the documented increase in vicious anti-Jewish incidents in Canada.
"We are anxious to become involved with FAST," said Mr. Spiridigliozzi. "As a school board with students from more than 100 multicutural backgrounds, we share FAST’s goal of teaching children that hatred has no place in Canada. Given this most recent incident, FAST’s arrival could not come at a better time."
Michael J. Cohen