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Russell Crowe offers aid to Jewish school

The Montreal was fire bombed earlier this month; a note with an anti-Semitic comment was found on the outside wall.
/ Source: Reuters

Tough-guy actor Russell Crowe was so upset by a fire-bombing at a Jewish elementary school in Montreal, he called the school to offer a donation to help rebuild its library, a school spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Crowe is in Toronto to film “Cinderella Man,” a film directed by Ron Howard about the life of boxer James J. Braddock, who defeated world champion Max Baer in an upset match in 1935.

“It was a huge morale boost for the school community,” said Shelley Paris from Montreal.

United Talmud Torahs elementary school was fire-bombed earlier this month and police said a note with anti-Semitic comments was found on the outside wall of the gutted library.

“He said he was very upset about what had happened that a place of learning should be attacked that way,” Paris said.

“He wanted to make sure that our students knew that he was thinking about them and that he was very upset about the fire-bombing,” Paris said.

The Academy Award-winning actor, who captured an Oscar for ”Gladiator” four years ago, offered to make a donation to help rebuild the library, Paris said. The figure was not available.

Paris said the school hopes to reopen the library by August, the start of the new school year, and has received donations and support from across the country.

The arson attack sparked outrage in Canada and prompted a fierce condemnation from Prime Minister Paul Martin. The incident was one of a series of attacks on Jewish targets in Canada and raised concerns about a rise in anti-Semitism.

In March, vandals knocked over dozens of tombstones in a Jewish cemetery in Toronto while someone sprayed swastikas on a synagogue in a separate incident.