Aubrey Erez was upset when she learned about the anti-Semitic graffiti at her son’s public elementary school, Bel Aire in Tiburon.
“I just had a plethora of emotions,” the mother of three said. “I was just heartbroken, angry.”
So the Tiburon resident picked up the phone and got in touch with her friend, Holli Thier, a town council member.
“I called her and I just said, we need to do something,” Erez said. “I want to organize a march.”
That’s how, on the first night of Hanukkah, 100 people ended up marching in the Marin town of 9,000 to voice their opposition to hate and discrimination. Erez said residents also were concerned that they weren’t hearing about hate graffiti when it did happen.
In another case, “someone had written in chalk ‘Jew parking,’” Thier said. “It’s very concerning that there have been two incidents in our very small town of Tiburon.”
Erez said parents at the school were only emailed about the graffiti — a blue Jewish star adjacent to male genitalia painted on a wooden school fence — five days after it was discovered in early November. “Nobody [was] aware of it,” she said. “They’re not letting us know.”
The Dec. 2 march ended downtown at the fountain plaza, where a menorah was lit for the first night of Hanukkah and marchers ate latkes and sufganiyot.
The 9-foot menorah was itself another Erez family idea. Last year, Thier was able to borrow a menorah from Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, but it was only on loan for one night. This year, in keeping with the Hanukkah story of miracles, lights will burn proudly all eight nights near the town Christmas tree after the Erez family bought and donated a large menorah to the town. Erez, who identifies as a Christian and is married to a Jewish Israeli, said it was important that both holiday symbols stand together.
And how did the family even find a 9-foot menorah?
“You order it on Amazon,” Erez said with a laugh. “They have everything.”