(JTA) — The banner, dragged by a plane last week across the Florida sky, looked disconcerting.
“Jew, I have a question,” it said.
Certainly it was a moment made for Twitter, attracting both jokesters and antisemitism watchdogs.
A tweet of the photo Saturday by the group StopAntisemitism got more than 100 shares. Another group, United With Israel, shared the photo and tweeted, “Antisemitism is alive and well.”
Others poked fun.
“Judging by my experience of Judaism the question is either something deep, philosophical and existential or ‘when are we eating? I’m STARVING,” one person tweeted.
Ben Shapiro, the Orthodox Jewish right-wing commentator, tweeted the photo out to his 3.5 million followers along with a joking, obscure reference to how rabbis answer questions of Jewish law.
Turns out the banner wasn’t meant to be hate speech or a joke: It was a marriage proposal to a woman nicknamed “Jew.” (What that’s short for — Julia? Jewel? Judith? Remains unclear.)
According to Glenna Milberg, a local South Florida television reporter, the banner was created and flown by Aerial Banners, whose Instagram page shows examples of similar marriage proposals — though others tend to say “Will you marry me?” That probably would have cleared up the confusion here.
Milberg reported that Milo Srkal Jr., a representative of Aerial Banners, said he didn’t realize the banner could be read as offensive until he got a call from the local branch of the Anti-Defamation League.
“It was like, ‘Wait, what? What are you talking about?’” he said, according to News10, Milberg’s station. “And then after sitting back, thinking about it, reading a few things and having things explained to us, it was like, ‘Oh my God.’”
Of course, the real story of the banner prompted another question: Did “Jew” say yes?
According to Milberg, she did.