SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-Santa Barbara Police are asking for information about antisemitic flyers recently left in local neighborhoods.
On Sunday, the first day of Hanukkah this year, officers received calls from people who discovered flyers with hostile and prejudicial messages against Jewish people. The flyers were placed inside sandwich bags that were weighed down by rice.
Some people found them in their yards and driveways in their Bel Air Knoll and Santa Barbara Mesa neighborhoods.
Angela Granziera said she noticed them when she went outside to walk her dog on Sunday morning.
"I picked up one and I said 'man' and my husband said 'don't give it any attention, throw it in the garbage, we don't want any voice given to these people,'" said Granziera.
She isn't Jewish, but felt bad for Jewish neighbors including Benjamin Feld.
Feld didn't find one in his own yard, but spotted dozens of flyers walking his dog,too.
"I see a bag full of rice on a driveway, didn't think much of it, see another bag full of rice, so I look down and I see a piece of paper inside the bag and I noticed something about Kanye West, so I am curious and I want to see what that was and when I picked it up I noticed on the other side there was all this information, misinformation about Jews."
It mentioned Jews and African Americans.
Feld called it a total attack on Judaism using antisemitic language.
"This is supposed to be a joyous time, the celebration of Hanukkah, not to mention all the other holidays at this time of year and to have to experience this type of behavior is just shocking in this community it really really is," said Feld.
Granziera said neighbor were posting about it on the Nextdoor website. She said one neighbor noticed maggots in the rice.
Feld who remembers lighting the first candle on his menorah that night said, "It is very notable and very sad that Hanukkah is the celebration of the re-dedication of the temple that was destroyed in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago because we were Jewish people and now 2,000 years later we are still having to deal with that type of antisemitic behavior towards Judaism even in our little community."
The Festival of Light that is Hanukkah or Chanukah, depending on how followers wish to spell it, dates back to the 2nd century BCE, when a small group of Jews reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Oil used to light the temple's menorah was only expected to burn for one day but ended up burning for eight days.
Some of the flyers were turned over to the Santa Barbara Police Department.
Investigators said Santa Barbara is not alone. Similar drops have been made in other cities.
Other neighbors described the flyers as “upsetting “ and “full of hate”.
They said the areas are not necessarily Jewish neighborhoods.
One yard has a multilingual sign on the lawn that reads, "No matter where you are from, we're glad you're out neighbor."
Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer and Cyndi Silverman who serves as Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara are asking people to put candles in their windows as a show of support for the Jewish Community.
Police are asking anyone with information or surveillance footage of the flyer distribution to contact Lt. Baker in the Santa Barbara Police Department Investigative Division.
Lt. A. Baker can be reached at (805) 897-3754 or by email at email@example.com