The entrance to the Ben Weider JCC two days after the incident - there is no visible damage to the sidewalkOn Tuesday night, at around 11 pm, a small homemade bomb was detonated in front of the Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre, the "Jewish Y" in Snowdon, Montreal (CBC). There were no injuries. The gym and complex are currently closed due to Passover, so the disruption will hopefully be minimal. Our Montreal correspondents, who live only five minutes down the block, report that part of the sidewalk in front of the building was blackened by the blast.
It is not yet known whether this was indeed an anti-Jewish attack, but I think it is fairly likely that it was. The Ben Weider Centre is about 3 minutes walking from the Cummings Centre for senior citizens, which was defaced with antisemitic graffiti last December (see our coverage). That graffiti appears to have been the work of Russian nationalist antisemites (Canadian Jewish News), perhaps from the neighborhood. The area is home to large number of synagogues, day schools, yeshivot, and other communal institutions, such as the Saidye Bronfman theater, the Jewish Federation, and the Jewish Public Library. As a former member of the gym and resident of the area, I am surprised how something like this could happen there.
Montreal's Jewish population numbers around 92,000. Overall, there is still a trend of Jewish emigration out of Montreal. Many of the emigrants leave for Toronto, home to Canada's largest Jewish community. In Snowdon, Jews of different religious persuasions and backgrounds (from Yiddish-speaking hasidim to francophone North African Jews to recent Russian-Jewish immigrants) live alongside growing Filipino and Tamil populations, many of whom use the library as well as the gym. An attack on the Y is thus not just an attack on the large Jewish population of Snowdon (as well as those Montrealers who come from other parts of the city); it also threatens the many non-Jewish residents of the area who use its services.