Uneasiness in Atlanta Jewish community grows after reported anti-Semitic flyers

A statement was issued by Dov Wilker, American Jewish Committee of Atlanta, on Tuesday which was supported by the ADL and Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. It reads:

“Upon further investigation, we have determined conclusively that the offensive antisemitic flyer with swastikas and holocaust denial language is a historical document, which was being used by a member of the Jewish community who was studying the history of antisemitism and holocaust denial. Another member of the Jewish community saw the document and mistakenly sent it on to others thinking it was linked to the distribution of the anti-Muslim flyer (determined to be a legitimate Islamophobic incident), upon which the story regrettably took on a life of its own.”

ATLANTA -- The uneasiness in Atlanta's Jewish community is palpable, after a string of attacks against worshippers nationwide. 

The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta was made aware of anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic flyers in the area, compounding existing concerns from recent violence.

Jewish Federation officials then notified local leaders of the discovery, including Dov Wilker.

“Those flyers add to the tension and fear in the community,” said Wilker, the regional director for the American Jewish Committee. “They make some Jews hide even more so because they don't want to be attacked​.”

The Jewish Federation’s security notice, sent by Zach Williams, deputy director of community-wide security, said several pamphlets were discovered in the Toco Hills area around Dec. 18. Notably, it's unclear where the flyers, with crude cartoons and horrific remarks, were discovered.

The resulting tension in the area was only multiplied by the brutal attack in Monsey, New York over the weekend, where five people were stabbed while celebrating Hanukkah.

Even thousands of miles away, people gathered in Toco Hills Sunday evening, in a public showing of support for those victims.

“I’ve prayed in that synagogue, I’ve spoken in that synagogue, I’m very aware of that particular community,” said Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman with the Beth Jacob Congregation. “And almost everybody here knows somebody [in Monsey].”

The evening ended with a lighting of the final candle on the menorah, followed by song and dance.​

But not even the music could quiet an anxiousness, lingering in the crowd. ​

“Everybody that attended the candle-lighting yesterday, the dozens and hundreds of people, were on edge,” said Wilker. “They were being extra vigilant about who was driving by, who was walking by, what type of security was there -- all of the things that we often take for granted, they were paying attention to what was going on​.”

DeKalb County Police said they are " investigating recent incidents involving offensive literature as it relates to faith-based organizations that was discovered in the Toco Hills community."