The hearts and minds of Calgary’s Jewish community were tethered to Israel on Saturday as they congregated at the Beth Tzedec synagogue. The distressing images of southern Israel’s bombardment by Hamas relayed by various media outlets dismayed them.
Among these empathetic onlookers was Jerry Snukal, a father and grandfather to eleven individuals living in Israel. They shared the reality of their circumstance: two of his grandchildren, both ex-military personnel, had been called back into service that afternoon, while his daughter visited her safe room, a concrete bunker integrated into their Tel Aviv home, forced there by a nearby bombing.
Jerry expressed concern about the escalating violence, especially with emerging news of Iran’s potential financial and military support to Hamas. This international involvement, he feared, could take an already complicated situation and spiral it into uncontrollable chaos.
Elsewhere in Calgary, Susan Inhaber, the soon-to-be-inaugurated Canadian president of Na’Amat Canada, harbors similar fears as she prepares for her appointment at a convention planned to take place in Calgary. She discussed a daycare project near Gaza, which mirrored the necessity of her fellow member’s safe room. It was a reflection of the demanding times she and her family in Israel were enduring.
Adam Silver, the CEO of the Calgary Jewish Federation, firmly asserted the Jewish community’s unwavering support for Israel in its retaliation, as well as its rights to secure the safety of its citizens and soldiers. He touched upon the mounting security concerns within Calgary, extending his gratitude to local authorities, politicians, and influencers for their support.
However, Calgary’s experience of escalating hate crimes over the past four years, with Jewish groups frequently targeted for their religion, cast a long shadow over these declarations of solidarity.
Yuri Isakovich and his father Boris, two Calgarians visiting Israel, found themselves trapped due to the violence. Despite their precarious position in Tel Aviv, they were hopeful of an extended stay and ongoing aid from the Canadian Consulate.
On the home front, Alberta’s premier Danielle Smith took to social media to voice her condemnation of the attacks, lending further solidarity to this narrative of resilience and support.