I attended a special gathering of Greater Victoria residents who showed up in the many hundreds to support the local Jewish Community, following a deplorable desecration last week of gravesites at the Jewish Cemetary in Fernwood.  

Various faith leaders and their communities attended with the Jewish community and its leaders, provincially and locally elected officials, other community leaders, families and people of all ages, to stand in unity against such acts of hate crime and racism.  Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe spoke as Acting Victoria Mayor and acknowledged fellow Council colleagues in the crowd, highlighting the continual need for champions to remain vigilant and to advance and embrace the goals of tolerance and acceptance throughout our community.

It was a remarkable demonstration of community goodwill and positive action and I was proud to stand side by side with so many wonderful citizens.  The Rabbi who led the ceremony also led the crowd in a traditional Jewish song as everyone linked arms and swayed side to side as we sang.  It was a moving tribute to our Jewish community and a distinct way to honour them and the many souls who are buried nearby. 

This ceremony today re-affirms one’s belief in the strength of standing together for something so integral to the well-being of our greater community.