(JTA) — A Jewish family in Phoenix decided to leave anti-Semitic graffiti painted on their mailbox for all to see in an effort to raise awareness about the issue.
Shoshana and Ari Simones of Phoenix found the graffiti, including a spray painted swastika and the word Jew, when they returned home from a July 4 trip last week.
A neighbor had noticed the graffiti and taped a piece of paper over it. In a note to the Simones, the neighbor wrote: “I am so sorry and disgusted by this.” She noted that she tried to call a company to come wash the graffiti off the mailbox but that they were completely booked.
The couple told the daily newspaper the Arizona Republic that they decided to remove the paper covering the anti-Semitic graffiti so that everyone who passes by the house can see it.
They said they may paint over the swastika but leave the word Jews on the mailbox, or paint the word proud where the swastika was. Several neighbors have offered to help paint over the swastika.
“We’re not going to let this frighten us. I think for my husband it’s more standing up, not hiding who are,” Shoshana Simones said. She added “(w)e’re angry and offended and disheartened, but we’re not scared and we’re not ashamed and we’re proud to be Jews.”
The family has a mezuzah affixed near the front door. “We love our neighborhood. There are a lot of Jewish families; we live very close to our synagogue, our place of worship; we will walk to services and people will wave hello,”
Ari Simones’ grandparents were both Holocaust survivors who lost their families, according to the report.
There were four reported anti-Semitic incidents in 2015 and 10 in 2016, and 14 in the first quarter of 2017, the Arizona Republic reported citing ADL figures.
The Bias Crime Unit of the Phoenix Police Department is investigating the incident.