More than 50 people - including religious leaders, political officials, and community members - gathered in Yardley on Friday afternoon to denounce an anti-Semitic slur apparently spray-painted onto a family's garage door this week.
Organized by State Rep. Steve Santarsiero (D., Bucks), the event featured speeches from him and Lower Makefield Township Supervisor Jeff Benedetto as well as two rabbis, a nun, a Presbyterian pastor, a representative from a local Islamic group, and other community members.
The purpose, Santarsiero said, was "to say in a loud voice that there is no place for hate in this community."
"Things like this cannot be tolerated," added Rabbi Josh Gruenberg of Yardley's Congregation Beth El. "This is not the community we are going to be."
The object of concern was the message "Move Jew," which Lower Makefield resident Michael Raker and daughter Samantha say was spray-painted on their garage door Monday. Both are Jewish.
Samantha Raker said she discovered it before heading to work that morning, and that upon seeing the words, "I think my heart stopped for a second."
"It was shocking," she said Friday, saying she and her father had not previously felt discriminated against in the neighborhood, where they have lived for about four years.
Samantha Raker called police, she said, and Santarsiero said Friday they were investigating. Lower Makefield Township police officials could not be reached for comment.
Since Monday, Raker said, she has felt unsafe in her own home. She said she had no idea who may have committed the act. At one point this week she asked her father to watch as she answered a knock at the front door.
Santarsiero said he hoped Friday's gathering could show the Rakers that they had the community's support.
Samantha Raker, after fielding hugs and handshakes from audience members, said she thought it was a good start.
"It was very heartwarming today," she said.