Members of a synagogue in Moncton are worried after a man in the congregation experienced verbal attacks at two separate stores.
Irwin Lampert, president of the Tiferes Israel Synagogue, believes the attacks could be related to the recent violence in Israel and Gaza.
"The people who confronted someone like this are nothing but vile, hateful, antisemites and cowards," Lampert said.
"People like this don't have any place in Moncton."
Some people are afraid to wear the Star of David around their neck. - Irwin Lampert
Lampert said a member of the congregation was verbally attacked by a woman in a store a few weeks ago.
"She said, 'You all are a bunch of murderers."
Then she left.
"Others in the store were obviously shocked to hear someone say things like that," Lampert said.
On a separate occasion, the man was approached in a store by a man who said "You guys really learned well from Hitler" and walked away.
The man was identifiable as Jewish because he was wearing a skullcap, and also had tassels hanging from his clothes.
"That's the way very religious Jewish people dress," Lampert said. "That's not going to stop him. He's a courageous man."
Lampert described him as a religious man and will continue to wear his traditional clothing.
"It's a sad commentary on our society when someone has to be afraid because they identify themselves publicly as belonging to one religion or another," he said.
Synagogue windows shattered
On Friday, someone shot the back windows of the synagogue with a BB gun-causing the windows to break. The window in the rabbi's office has been shattered.
"It's quite a mess," Lampert said.
Synagogue leaders aren't sure who destroyed the windows, but Lampert said this wasn't the first time it happened.
"Antisemitism is always out there."
Codiac RCMP are investigating the incident.
'They're just haters'
Lampert said he has heard of a number of incidents like this happening at universities in Montreal and Toronto.
"Some people are afraid to wear the Star of David around their neck."
In Moncton, he said, there has always been harmony between the francophone and anglophone and Jewish and Muslim communities.
The congregation has done outreach and provided education about Judaism, Lampert said, and the vast majority of citizens are respectful.
"I think they're just haters and they're going to continue to be haters and we just have to deal with it as best we can"