The Poway community rallied around one of their own Monday night in a show of support for a Jewish woman who's Hanukkah decorations were vandalized in what deputies are investigating as a hate crime.
Hours after Debbie Seibert put up decorations to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah on Sunday, the Poway resident found a swastika spray-painted on her home and a liquid that smelled like kerosene on her son’s car.
Seibert’s seasonal decorations include a Star of David hanging on a front yard tree and a series of colorful dreidels projected by a lamp.
In the coming days, she’ll have security cameras positioned in her yard that will stay there year round.
“I feel defiled,” Seibert, who has lived in the neighborhood for 11 years, said. “It’s the first time we’ve ever decorated for Hanukkah and it was a very bad result.”
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department investigators say the vandalism, which they classify as a hate crime, occurred sometime after 11 p.m. on Ilene Street on Sunday.
Right now, there are no suspects but the family reported seeing two teens wearing hoodies walking down the street at the time of the incident.
Seibert says she hopes it was nothing more than an insensitive prank.
“I hope that’s all it was. I’m going to be uneasy sleeping. We’re putting in security cameras. We’re trying to do what we can to catch whoever did this,” she said.
Seibert's neighbors planned a candlelight vigil in support of the family. They packed the corner sidewalk at Poway and Community roads with chants of, "No hate, no hate in Poway" and signs that read, "Poway united against hate."
"There's no room for that we have plenty of room for all faiths and people," Michelle Marshall said.
Jusef Miller with the Poway Interfaith Team said hate is wrong no matter where it comes from, so his group came to the vigil to stand in solidarity.
"We stand with them. We will not accept this kind of hatred and bigotry towards our fellow brothers and sisters, whatever faith," Miller said.
Seibert said the show of support was, "overwhelming" and though she is shaken, she will continue to display her Hanukkah decorations.
“I’m proud of my heritage. Everybody else decorates for their heritage, their holiday. I should be able to decorate for my holiday. That’s co-existing,” she said.
Deputies say they are looking into whether the vandal or vandals were recorded leaving the area by any home security cameras in the neighborhood.