Canadian City Hit by Anti-Semitism Responds With ‘Noah’s Ark’ Intiative to Teach Children Tolerance

Rabbi Shmuly Hecht of Chabad Okanagan speaks to students at the Balsam School, in Kenowla, Canada, last week.

April 4, 2021

A small city in western Canada is setting an example for how communities can constructively respond to hate incidents.

Last month, several anti-Semitic posters were found in the British Columbia municipality of Kelowna, prompting a police investigation and a strong condemnation from the mayor.

Now, two local institutions — Chabad Okanagan and the Balsam School — have launched a new initiative to fight bigotry and teach tolerance to children.

The program — called “Noah’s Ark” — encourages kids to set aside money on a daily basis for a good cause.

“If you want the future to be brighter and better, you have to nip hatred in the bud,” Rabbi Shmuly Hecht of Chabad Okanagan told the Kelowna Daily Courier. “Lectures are important, but action is transformative. The repetition of the daily giving brings subtle changes. It’s like muscle memory.”

Students at Balsam — an independent K-3 school — have been given small boxes shaped like Noah’s Ark to save money before donating it to a cause or charity of their choosing.

Last month, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said the anti-Semitic posters were put up by people whose “ignortant voices represent a small fringe in contrast the the many thousands in Kelowna who believe in inclusion, diversity, and civility.”