Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Back to Back Antisemitic Incidents Reported in South Tampa, FL

Two incidents of perceived antisemitism reported during the first week of the year in South Tampa prompted the Tampa JCCs and Federation to issue a reminder to the local Jewish community that if people see something offensive, they should report it.

The board and staff of the JCCs and Federation issued a statement that they are “deeply disappointed” and that “As an organization and a community, we find hateful acts like this disturbing and unacceptable.”

Mark Segel, director of strategic initiatives for the JCCs and Federation, said both incidents happened within a few days before the reminder was issued on Friday, Jan. 7.

One incident occurred at a residential construction site at the corner of McKay and Grady avenues in South Tampa. In a photo supplied by Segel, there is a Star of David with a circle around it and a slash over the image spray painted on the back of a portable toilet. Segel said neither the owner of the residence nor the construction company are Jewish. The offensive image has since been painted over.

Tampa Police Public Information Officer Janel Lanee said police are investigating the case and noted that a Jewish resident who lives in the neighborhood reported the graffiti.

The second incident occurred at Coleman Middle School in South Tampa. According to Segel and Lanee, a group of students distributed flyers in an effort to form a club for Jewish students, and one of the flyers posted on a wall was defaced. The matter was handled internally at the school with involvement of school staff and a school resource officer, Lanee said.

Segel added that former JCCs and Federation president Joe Probasco, currently a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council, also got involved.

“We’re fortunate and grateful we have the full support of the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to help try to ensure our safety and see that those responsible are held accountable. Battling all acts of hate and antisemitism continues to be one of our highest priorities,” the Tampa JCCs and Federation statement read in the Shalom Tampa e-newsletter.