For the first time ever, Debbie Seibert says she and her family decorated their home in Poway, California, for Hannukah.
But what happened next, she says, has left her feeling unsafe in her own community, according to NBC San Diego.
“I’m going to be uneasy sleeping,” the woman told NBC San Diego. “We’re putting in security cameras.”
Seibert says someone spray painted a swastika on the side of her family’s home that was found on 11 p.m. Sunday, the first day of Hannukah, according to Fox5. The San Diego Police Department is investigating and looking for surveillance footage.
To celebrate the Jewish holiday, the family decorated their front yard with projections of dreidels and a Star of David hanging on a tree, NBC San Diego reported. Seibert told Fox5 in an on-camera interview that she wanted to join in on the fun of Christmas decorations while staying true to her Jewish faith, so she decided to go with the Hannukah-themed decorations.
Debbie’s son, Shawn, says he heard people outside of his home on Sunday night while he went to get some water, according to CBS8. Shawn says he opened his front door and saw two people, who he believes are responsible for the vandalism, running away.
San Diego police say they are investigating the swastika as a hate crime, CBS8 reported.
“I feel defiled,” Debbie said, according to NBC San Diego. “It’s the first time we’ve ever decorated for Hanukkah and it was a very bad result.”
For Shawn, discovering the swastika on his family’s home outside of San Diego was a wake-up call.
“I was in shock. I was in awe,” he told CBS8. “I was disappointed. I felt personally attacked.”
In an interview with 10News, the man wondered “how can someone do something like that to someone they don’t know?”
“When you see it,” he added to the TV station, “it just shakes you down to your core.”
A vigil was held Monday night in Poway as an outpouring of support for the Seibert family, Fox5 reported in a TV segment.
“We’re united,” one attendee said, as seen in the Fox5 broadcast. “We are all in this together.”
With that support in mind, Shawn says he and his family won’t let the hateful vandalism sway their faith.
“Just because they are a few small-minded individuals in the world, the rest of us will come together in times of strife and need,” he said, according to CBS8.