Reject Bigotry and Light a Candle

Credit: Courtesy ADL

Santa Barbara is home to a thriving and diverse Jewish population with a strong sense of belonging to the larger community. Perhaps that is why our area was recently targeted by a small and fringe hate group seeking attention and revenue by distributing virulently anti-Semitic fliers designed to heighten concern, reaction, and financial support from their own supporters. We won’t address the content of the fliers to avoid amplifying them, but the conduct warrants response — particularly in the context of rising anti-Semitism nationally and globally.

The troubling trends of anti-Semitism are mirrored in rising hate and bigotry targeting Black, Latino, Asian American-Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+, Muslim, and other often marginalized or minority groups. Whether fueled by animus, political division, social isolation, or ignorance, we reject the diminution of others’ value based on their identity and immutable characteristics that contribute to it. This disgusting incident intended to spread hate and fear provides an opportunity, as do other recent incidents targeting other groups, to reaffirm our conviction in the value of a diverse and inclusive community that respects and embraces the wide range of experiences, beliefs, and backgrounds that define it.

We encourage community members, Jewish and non-Jewish, who would like to respond to this specific incident to join the Jewish community in displaying candles in a window of your home during Hanukkah, which continues until the evening of December 26. You could post an image of a Hanukkah menorah or light candles of your own.

Our community is at its best when we come together to reject bigotry in all of its forms.

Signed,

Dan Meisel, Regional Director; Ashley Myers, Assistant Regional Director; Mark Goldstein, Regional Board Chair: Anti-Defamation League Santa Barbara/Tri-Counties
Rabbi Steve Cohen, Cantor Mark Childs, Rabbi Daniel Brenner, Elizabeth Gaynes, Executive Director; Marcy Wimbish, Co-Board President; Nancy Sheldon, Co-Board President; Janet Wolf, Board Executive VP: Congregation B’nai B’rith
Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer; Itzik Ben-Sasson, Executive Director; Peter Melnick, President: Community Shul of Montecito and Santa Barbara
Cyndi Silverman, Executive Director; Eric Berg, Board President-Elect: Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara
Rabbi Evan Goodman, Executive Director; Rabbi Maddie Anderson, Assistant Director; Mark Silverberg, Board President: Santa Barbara Hillel
Salud Carbajal: Member of Congress
Monique Limón: California State Senator District 19
Gregg Hart: California State Assemblymember 37th DistrictRandy Rowse: Mayor of the City of Santa Barbara
Mike Jordan, Eric Friedman, Oscar Gutierrez, Meagan Harmon, Kristen Sneddon: Santa Barbara City Councilmembers
Laura Capps, 2nd District; Joan Hartmann, 3rd District; Das Williams, 1st District: Santa Barbara County Supervisors
Joyce E. Dudley, District Attorney Santa Barbara County

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