Anti-Semitic symbols and slogans graffitied on the wall of the main building at Camp Miriam, a Jewish summer camp for children on Gabriola Island, in mid December have since been painted over, but Gabriolans will join in a candlelight vigil in a show of support for their Jewish neighbours today, Jan. 2. (Camp Miriam/Facebook photo)

Vigil supports Jewish camp following anti-Semitic graffiti incident near Nanaimo

Children’s summer camp on Gabriola Island was desecrated in mid December, just before Hanukkah

Candles will be lighted in a show of support for Gabriola Island’s Jewish community at a vigil at Habonim Dror Camp Miriam.

The event happens today, Jan. 2, at the camp, which was the target of anti-Semitic graffiti in the form of swastika symbols sprayed on the wall of the camp’s main building in mid December just before Hanukkah.

Camp Miriam is a summer camp for children, located on Berry Point Road on the northwest side of Gabriola Island and was purchased by Habonim Dror in the 1960s.

The graffiti vandalism is the first such incident at the camp in its more than 50-year history.

Ivan Bulic, an organizer for the vigil, said the desecration was distressing and upsetting and the community of Gabriola wants to show its support and ensure that the island’s Jewish community is welcome.

“[The vigil] is to show support for the Camp Miriam community in light of the recent desecrations,” Bulic said. “They were anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas and other hateful messages scrawled and painted on their campsite and on their buildings.”

Kelley Korbin, a camp committee member, said a large contingent of camp alumni would be attending the vigil and the support from the Gabriola community was heartening and a “silver lining” on a negative experience.

“I attended camp and my kids attended camp, so Gabriola holds, definitely, a special place in the hearts of a lot of kids who’ve gone to camp … it’s a really special place for us and, I think, a place where kids feel safest to express who they are, so obviously an attack like this feels really personal, but then to see the community come out to host this vigil brings us hope,” Korbin said.

The vigil starts at 3 p.m.

READ ALSO: 5 stabbed at New York rabbi’s house on Hanukkah; suspect in custody



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