(Calgary) – Good evening.
We apologize for the late-night email. Our dedicated staff and volunteers have been working around the clock and we want to provide our community with some key updates. We know that this is an extremely scary and difficult time for all of us and today’s declaration by Hamas of an ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ on Friday, October 13, has heightened community fears further.
First and foremost, Calgary Jewish Federation has been coordinating with Calgary Police Service (CPS) at the highest level from the time of first learning of the Hamas terror attacks, and especially now with respect to these reports.
This entire week we have been working closely with CPS to have a regular police presence at our schools and Paperny Family JCC / daycare, and with consideration of Calgary’s synagogues and other infrastructure. They have also been conducting ongoing patrols around our community, as a visible deterrent, and to look for any suspicious activity.
We have also been in contact with the leadership at public and private schools that have a critical mass of Jewish students to ensure they and their teams are educated and understand the psychological impact our students are experiencing based on the horrific events in Israel. We are working with them to ensure the safety and security of these students during this challenging time.
We have been speaking with the administrative leadership at Mount Royal University and University of Calgary. They have expressed their support for our students, and we continue to have direct channels of communication with them as we work together to protect our post-secondary students.
In relation to October 13, we know all of you have fears and questions. Below is what we are aware of to date and our intended action plan:
- We have been in direct contact with Chief Constable Mark Neufeld of CPS and had extensive in-person conversations with his team this afternoon. They have been working with local, national, and international colleagues with deep security intel and as of this evening, there remains no active, known risks in Calgary.
- CPS has committed to having visible police presence at pick-up and drop-off times at The Calgary Jewish Academy and Halpern Akiva Academy, as well as at the Paperny Family JCC for daycare families for the remainder of this week and into next week. Also, there will be visible CPS presence at our community’s synagogues during key service hours.
- On Friday, an increased presence of CPS patrols will be at our community sites.
- We continue to work with The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) as part of its National Security Working Group, receiving real-time updates and information generated by our cross-Canada partners, and learned through CIJA’s vast and verified intelligence partnerships.
- We are working in partnership with all our Jewish organizations to ensure they have the support they have needed over the past few days and into the coming ones. Our community’s organizations are doing their very best, and we hope you will all recognize the effort their staff and volunteers are making.
As noted in our eblast from this afternoon, we are aware of numerous concerns regarding social media posts from students, peers, and others in support of the terror attacks. We know this is painful to see. It is everyone’s responsibility to call out hate, and once again we encourage you to speak to the school administration or workplace HR department and report these posts and other incidents. We are also here to support and provide guidance, as needed.
We thank everyone for their vigilance over the past few days, and out of an abundance of caution, we ask all Jewish community members to be extra vigilant on Friday around Jewish institutions. Please remember, security is all our responsibility. If you see something, say something! If you see anything questionable, please report to the CPS non-emergency line (403-266-1234), and reach out directly to Calgary Jewish Federation. If you are engaged in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately.
We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will provide updates as we receive them.
Finally – Todah Rabah. Thank you for all your help, support, and vigilance. The strength of our community helps to ensure that we feel safe during these uncertain times. We are committed to continuing to keep you informed, particularly over the coming days and we are always here for any questions you may have.
Lisa Libin is President and Adam Silver is CEO, Calgary Jewish Federation.