Poway Neighbors Reflect on December Hate-Crime Following Synagogue Shooting

the suspect or suspects were never caught

In light of the Poway Synagogue Shooting that is being classified as a hate- crime by law enforcement, Poway neighbors are recalling another instance of anti-Semitism against a Jewish family that happened four months prior. 

Hours after Debbie Seibert put up decorations to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah in December 2018, the Poway resident found a swastika spray-painted on her home and a liquid that smelled like kerosene on her son’s car.

At the time, Seibert said that she felt "defiled." The San Diego County Sheriff's Department said the vandalism on Ilene Street was a hate-crime. 

Seibert didn't want to go on camera Monday but told NBC 7 she plans to put up even more Hanukkah decorations in 2019. She also added multiple security cameras to her house. 

After the incident, the Poway community rallied around the Seibert family by holding a candlelight vigil. 

The only leads in the case were sightings of two teens wearing hoodies, walking down the street at the time of the incident.

As far as Seibert knows, the suspect or suspects were never caught. Now many in the community are connecting it to a growing trend of anti-Semitic hate-crimes. 

“We are devastated by this shooting,” said Tammy Gillies, the Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego. “The whole community is devastated. We’re looking to fight hate. It has to stop.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, 50 percent of religious based hate-crimes in San Diego are targeting the Jewish Community.

“What is upsetting is the trend that every year the numbers rise,” said Gillies. “In California, hate crimes against the Jewish community rose 37 percent from 2016-2017.”

Gillies added the FBI has not released the statistics for 2018 yet.

Gillies believes the increase in hate-crimes is due to the rhetoric in the country that is easily spread through online platforms.

“It has emboldened people to speak hate,” she added. “We’re encouraging tech companies to take a stand against the hate online.”

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