From Rabbi Naomi - Antisemitic Flyers in Humboldt County

As many of you have heard, this week antisemitic flyers were found in residential neighborhoods in Arcata, Scotia, Rio Dell, and at Temple Beth El and in the surrounding neighborhood.  Thankfully in all locales concerned residents notified the police and collected the offensive materials.  The incidents were reported to the Anti-Defamation League and I received a helpful letter from Nancy Appel, Assistant Regional Director of the ADL:

“ADL has been tracking the small and fringe network of individuals responsible for the flyers since its inception several years ago.  It is known for its public stunts in select states, such as antisemitic banner drops over major highways and coordinated propaganda distributions.  The group’s actions are designed to garner publicity, harass and troll Jews, spread communal fear, and project the false image the network is larger than its actual numbers.

The group does not have a known record of calling for or committing violence.  Regardless, we always encourage community members to file police reports so law enforcement agencies can investigate and document the activity.”

Ms. Appel has reached out to Arcata and Eureka Police Departments, Sheriff Honsul, DA Fleming, and the Board of Supervisors offering support and resources.

Our new Anti-Semitism Task Force met for the first time in May.  We are developing protocols for both responding to incidents and taking proactive measures to educate and inform the Jewish community and the community at large.  If you are interested in serving on this Task Force, please contact me.

I called Rabbi Eliyahu Cowan of Chabad to discuss the situation and invited him to attend our upcoming Task Force meeting. I expressed our deep concern for his safety.

This morning I spoke with news reporter Jackson Guilfoil of the Times-Standard.  I encouraged him not to quote the antisemitic messages on the flyers to avoid giving the perpetrators a platform for their offensive views. I am going to encourage the Task Force to write recommendations for local media.

Very supportive comments have been made by concerned neighbors on social media. Please express your gratitude if you read helpful comments online.  I’ll start working on a public letter of thanks.

Sadly, security issues will impact our reopening plans, but I’m confident that we’ll find a way to meet again in person with minimal risk to health and no risks to safety.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Naomi