Colorado: To Allow A Public Menorah Or Not?

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menorah.jpgThe Fort Collins City Council has unanimously approved the formation of a citizen task force to examine what the city’s holiday display policy should include following two years of controversy about the placement of a menorah display in Old Town – according to a report by the Fort Collins Coloradoan. The task force will include representatives from many different city organizations, both religious and secular in nature.

Controversy arose during the holiday season in Fort Collins during the past two years when City Council voted to maintain its policy of not allowing unattended displays – including the menorah – in Old Town.

(Source: 9N)

(Photo Courtesy of Shmais)


84 COMMENTS

  1. It is a shanda that a Yid would try to force a municipality to display a Menorah.

    No one is mekarev by seeing a Menorah next to the Xmas tree at City Hall or the airport.

    It also antagonizes the goyim, something that needs to be avoided in golus.

  2. ‘No one is mekarev by seeing a Menorah next to the Xmas tree at City Hall or the airport.’

    Their intentions are pure! And if even ONE person will be inspired back to Yiddishkeit by seeing a Menorah displayed in public, I’m sure it will be appreciated in Hashem’s eyes!

  3. We have enough tzorus in golus. Why be so arrogant and demand things that we;’re not entitled to?( esp. something not needed) Since when is a Chanhkkah menorah on public display a mitzvah or requirement? Rent a piece of property and put it there;no one will object to that. A holiday tree is really not nearly as religious an item as is a menorah. Maybe we should also blow shofar in the street on Rosh Hashonoh?!

  4. How can anyone say that no one will be drawn to Yiddishkeit by seeing a Menorah at City Hall or in an airport? Last I checked, none of the YW posters were privy to the way Hashem orchestrates the universe (although you can’t always tell this from their posts).

    Maybe someone wrestling with their faith will walk off a plane in Cornhusk, Iowa, see a Menorah, and take it as a sign. Didn’t we all listen to the same sappy Journeys and Destiny songs as kids?

    Leaving aside the discussion of religious displays in public generally, I just don’t see how someone can make the statement that Joseph made without a hotline to G-d.

    Please pass along the number if you have it.

  5. By the way,why don’t we require everyone to be required to cover their bodies properly in public? That would be more important. What respect is it to display our mitzvah items on public property in front of disrespect and schmuts and lower a menorah to the same level as a goyishe public display? Parsumay Nissa does not mean decorating the street with menorahs! The shulchan oruch is our instruction book.

  6. My point of.view is. That putting a menorah on display is originally a goyesheh idea. It originates from an xmas tree. I saw this past winter many not. Frum yidden had blown up dreidels in front of their house. They felt like they were kind of sticking up for their own relgin. By doing that. But in truth they were using goyshe idea. R’ meyer kahana hy”d in one of his books write he thinks it is a wrong priority to show off a menorah since it is a hyprocrte thing to do. You believe that you are “defending” your religeon while “complimenting” there religeon

  7. CKY – As I said, a Menorah next to the Xmas tree will not enhance anyones Yiddishkeit.

    Better to let the Yidden not get too attracted to the Xmas decorations by having a Menorah as one of Santa’s gifts.

  8. interesting that people can just assert that there is no mitzva in Pirsumei Nissa, when Pirsumei Nissa applies to goyim as well. In addition to public menorahs, chabad also will give out menorahs to individual people, but since channuka is about SEEING the menora, what could be more appropriate than putting up a public Menora.

    And yes, there are many stories of people who were niskarev through seeing a public menora. Stating otherwise is pure ignorance.

    Putting up a Menora is not ‘forcing’ anything on anybody – there is no reason that a request to that effect should be rejected. If it is, it’s blatant anti-semitism.

    >Maybe we should also blow shofar in the street on Rosh Hashonoh?!

    actually, Chabad Chasidim spend hours on Rosh Hashana dragging their feet to hospitals etc. just to blow shofar for Jews wherever they may be. Although unlike chanukka, there is no point of course in erecting a giant public shofar.

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe is said to have been arrested in the 1940’s in France for standing on a car in middle of the street and laying the megilla for the public. In that case too, are you going to put up a giant hamantash?

  9. No one wants someone else’s religion or politics shoved down their throat! Leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone. Parsumay nissah is NOT for thr Goy. Can you make a Brochoh over showing a goy how you light a menorah,when there is no Jew around? Yes ,we have to be mekarev,but not on public goyish property. Of course we light in front of our house,but not on the street.It’s nice if they allow us to,but let’s not DEMAND it.Tz’nius is mid’Oraissah, Chanukkah is not.

  10. By the way, the young men in Washington Heights go to the hospitals on Rosh Hashonoh and walk .up 17 flights of stairs to blow shofar for patients;frum or not. They don’t blow the shofar on the street or,in the night,when neighbors are sleeping So what does THAT have to do with a menorah in public? To help a person do a mitzvah is not the same as showing off our menoreah as a decoration. How can you compare??
    Putting up an electric menorah in the street is NOT a mitzvah. I suggest santa claus (who’s that?) should light it. ( His beard is bigger than some of the rabbis! ( a little humor).

  11. We are in golus. Don’t forget that.

    We should not threaten to force the goyim to put our Menorahs on public property. (Like that chillul hashem that occured at the Seattle Airport, where a Rabbi threatened to sue the airport to put up a Menorah. It got allover the media, giving all Yidden a bad name.)

  12. Pirsmuei Nisa is defined by SHulchan Aruch. In the House and Beis Knesses. Not in the train station, or on top of your car, or in Central Park.

  13. Vos felt ois? Who needs it? can’t understand why anyone would feel it important enough to fight City Hall over. I agree with Joseph: I don’t believe that anyone in the world gets more mekurav to Hashem yisborach by seeing a Menorah right next to an X-mas display. All they see is that we are “equal” to the goyim. And we are not. We far surpass them and their beliefs.

    They might feel some chizuk by seeing a public menorah by itself, but next to a nativity scene? It cheapens the meaning of Chanukah and the Menorah! How can we make the light of the Chanukah Menorah be considered merely “equal” to the darkness that is displayed right next to it?

    Ki chol ha’amim yailchu ish beshaim elohav, va’anachnu nailaich bishaim Hashem E-lokainu li’olam va’ed. Let them believe as they do. We do not have to imitate them, nor do we have to be “equal” to them, nor do we have to do what they do.

    This act is caused by Jews who feel low because the goyim insult the Jewish People. They don;t want to believe the insults, so they feel they have to force everyone to see them as equal. Or they feel that the non-frum must be shown that we Jews are equal to goyim.

    Well, we are NOT equal to them! We have something much better, which they will never have. And we don’t have to flaunt it to know that we have it.

    If a menorah must be publicly displayed, it should be entirely under Jewish auspices and authority. Why should goyim have any say in the matter? The entire point of Chanukah is that we have the light, they do not, and we should not learn from them.

    The light of the Chanukah Menorah represents the wisdom of Torah. The goyim do not have that, so what is the point in sticking our menorah with their tamai display of avodah zarah? We contradict the very essential meaning of Chanukah.

    On a related note, I have the same complaint about people who make or sell so-called Chanukah Menorahs with the shapes of Disney characters, or baseball players, and the like. The whole point of Chanukah is NOT to be influenced by goyim! This misses the entire point! It disgusts me.

    Sorry for the long post. May we all be properly and truly enlightened, and only in the sense that the Torah would use that term.

  14. Its not the Menorah that disturbs anyone here, its the MOVEMENT promoting it!

    Nobody comments on how stupid it looks for Yeshiva Bochurim to walk on the street Purim, stoned drunk, jumping on cars etc. When we request that the street be closed so we can dance with a Sefer Torah, is that not less of an imposition on Goyim?

    What about walking on the streets with an esrog and Luluv? Succos being built on front porches or lawns, all ok! But when Chabad organizes an project, we all go into a frenzy!! I suppose their Mitzvah tanks are a Chillul Hashel as well??

  15. There are at least 2 false claims in the talkbacks.
    1) No one will be niskarev from a public menorah.
    FALSE, my aunt became frum after seeing a menorah publicly displayed. She always felt bad living in ekk velt with only goyim, until she saw a lubavitch menorah, which made her look into yidishkayt and today she has 3 sons in Lakewood.
    2) We are forcing something that is not our “right”.
    FALSE, The US Supreme court has ruled that menoras MUST go up in any public place where there is a tree, if requested.

    Ich ze nisht dee groise avla, if some Chabadnikm wants to follow US law….

    Lefee aniyois daati, davening a langer shmoine esrei in the aisle of an EL AL flight (instead of doing it in the back etc) is a bigger chilul Hashem than putting up a menorah in yehupatz.

  16. Plese read post nos. 20.
    I cant figure out the message,
    ‘Everyone I talked to said that it freaked them out more than intrigued them… ‘

    Is this THE ‘self- hating -Jew’ talking, or is he trying to cozy up to his CRITICS , namely ,JOSEPH INC.?

  17. YeruchemdeeLekvooder,

    As a matter of law you are incorrect. The U.S. Supreme Court never ruled a Menorah is mandatory upon request anywhere there is a Xmans tree.

    Secondly, it was wrong for Yidden to have brought any of these cases to court (or as someone pointed out above, to have threatened to sue the Seattle Airport to force them to put a Menorah up.) That is a massive chillul hahsem.

  18. nameless, he is he trying to cozy up to his CRITICS , namely ,JOSEPH INC. because as you conclusively determined in a previous post on YW, Joseph is a “YW operative.”

    And who wouldn’t want to cozy up to a YW operative?

  19. What about walking on the streets with an esrog and Luluv? Succos being built on front porches or lawns, all ok! But when Chabad organizes an project, we all go into a frenzy!! I suppose their Mitzvah tanks are a Chillul Hashel as well??

    Those are mitzvos. Putting a menorah up in public areas is not. Halacha tells us how to accomplish persumei nissa, and large menorah displays is not one of the ways.

  20. Rodef,

    They dont put up the Menorah for the Mitzvah of lighing it but as a symbol of the Nes Channukah which might be moving to certain borderline-frum Yidden. Imagine how rewarding it is to spark the pinteleh yid in every Jew

  21. namel, the pintele yid does not come out from a Menorah with Santa and the Xmas tree.

    What happened with the bruhaha from our last thread 😉

  22. They dont put up the Menorah for the Mitzvah of lighing it but as a symbol of the Nes Channukah which might be moving to certain borderline-frum Yidden. Imagine how rewarding it is to spark the pinteleh yid in every Jew.

    Nameless, I understand why they do it. I was responding to your comparison.

  23. So, a department store Santa sits a young boy on his lap and asks, “Were you a good boy,” and the boy says, “Yes, and I want a train,” and Santa gives him a coloring book and pats his head and sends him on his way. And then a little girl sits on his lap and she says, “I was a good girl and I want a doll,” and she receives a coloring book and a pat on the head. And then another little boy sits on the Santa’s lap and is asked, “Were you a good boy this year? What do you want?” and the boy bursts into tears.

    “What is the matter?” asks the man dressed as Santa.

    “I’m Jewish,” the boy sobs, “we do not celebrate that day.”

    The Santa looks left, looks right, reaches into his bag, and withdraws two coloring books. Shoving them into the boy’s hands, he says, “Here, nem svei.”

  24. WSX & Illinoi07:
    In fact it is you that is making the mistake. Read up on on the breif.
    It says that in todays day, its the MENORAH that is not (only) a religious symbol and it (the menorah)therefore MUST be put up whenever asked, next to the tree.

    Read up on the case, as I have before commenting.

  25. Yeruchemdee,

    I read the legal case history on this and WSX is correct. U.S. law, based on case history, considers a Menorah a religious symbol.

    Furthermore, there is no basis for mandating a Menorah next to an Xmas tree.

    And even more important, it is heart-wrenching to see Yidden who would want a Menorah next to an Xmas tree.

  26. Joseph;
    You are WRONG!!!!
    Supreme court calls it a “secular” symbol. You either read the wrong case, or you are lying.

    As for the Yidden who want to see the menorah, it is obvious to me and many others that chabad (who I consider the mumchim when it comes to kiruv) have proof that it helps. For me as a litvak, that is enough. I am not saying that I would or that you should put it up. But I sure am ready to let them put it up. And I dont buy into any of this chilul Hashem baloney. It is NOT a chilul Hashem to put up a menorah.

  27. Yeruchemdee:

    I quote from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:

    In American Jewish Congress, we held that the city of Bev-erly Hills’ ad hoc permitting system lent itself to abuse such that the city’s decision to allow the erection of a menorah in a public park violated the Establishment Clauses of the California and Federal Constitutions.

    For the entire court decision, see: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/9th/0055406p.pdf

  28. And nowhere has any U.S. court, including the U.S. Supreme Court, ever ruled that a municipality must put a Menorah next to a Xmas tree. At most, some lower courts may have ruled, that at best a municipality may put a Menorah next to a Xmas tree.

    And even worse is to make a massive Chillul Hashem, like last Chanukah at the Seattle Airport, where a purported Rabbi publically threatened to sue the municipality to put up the Menorah, resulting in a very public backlash against Jews by the general public.

    Furthermore, why would a Jew want to see a Menorah next to the symbol that represents the suppression of Judaism for thousands of years (along with its bloody Jewish history)?

    Do you really believe an unaffiliated Jew will come closer to Yiddishkeit by seeing an electric Menorah next to Santa Claus and his Jewish stained bloody minions?

  29. Just to cover a few points. Pardon the length, but I think they are important.

    a) “this is not mekarev people”. That is utterly ridiculous as every Chabad Shaliach (2,000 of them or whatever) will tell you that it is.

    From reading the posts I noticed that those who maintained that it is not mekarev people did not do so based on factual evidence etc. but rather based on sevaros (“It cheapens the meaning of Chanukah and the Menorah” etc.).

    Clearly you aren’t familiar with the people that Chabad is trying to be mekarev. All your sevaros are fine and dandy if the guy on the street looked at Yiddishkait the way you did, but the fact is that they don’t.

    I encountered this ‘frume’ inability to understand non-frum yidden first hand. There was a not-frum yid in Boro Park who ate at Lubaitchers and found them OK. But when he ate by families in BP he had run-ins with them until he was entirly nisrachek. Unfortunatly, besides in Chabad where it seems to come naturaly, frum people need to ‘be trained’ to be involved with kiruv, or else (in many or most cases) they’ll end up doing a lot of richuk.

    I’m writing all this because, as I said before, people are deciding what’s appropiate and what’s not, based on how they look at Judaism, but as any Chabad Shliach will tell you, the public Menora is one if their biggest activities during the year.

    b) “it’s not pirsumei nissa” when lighting Menora was an inyan of peirsumei nissa one was only allowed to light with a beracha when there were people in the street – “ad d’kalya rigla d’tarmuda’i”. Those Tarmudaim were goyim. And anyway, the point is that Jews should see the menora. It’s not noge’a if you’re actually mekayem the halachic mitzva of menora or not, it’s about getting the word out. Something like advertising.

    c) “causing strife and hate etc.” Chabad has come to court many times on this issue, and they always win. They win on the grounds of freedom of expression, not because it’s a religious icon. Every city knows that, and therefore, declining a request to put up a menora is nothing but unlawful anti-yiddishkait (usualy Reform sponsered).

    Chabad has actually sued many times (not last year for the first time, as was written) and as said before, they always win. What happened last year, was that in order to make Chabad look bad, they took down the trees. So basically, Chabad was framed. That doesn’t mean that you have to take the anti-yiddishkait stance.

    As to the court decision, I didn’t read it, but be’poel, there are many public menoras in CA, perhaps the qoute cited is an argument that it is unlawful (which obviously was the argument in every such court case), but that it is not what the accepted decision is.

    Gut Shabbos

  30. Straight Thinking,

    The decision I quoted above from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is current binding legal precedent. The ruling in that case has mandatory appellate jurisdiction over all district courts in California, Washington, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska, Hawaii and other territorial courts.

  31. Yeruchemdee,

    I just read that Wikipedia entry. Aside from the unreliability of Wikipedia, in the Wikipedia entry you pointed to itself nowhere does it state that any municipality ever must put up a Menorah (even if there is a Xmas tree there.)

    All it said is that, in that particular case, “given its particular physical setting”, it was a “permissible” display. It also is non-binding on every other Menorah case, as it is applicable to that cases “particular physical setting.”

  32. Joseph:
    Your quote means absolutly zilch VS a Supreme court ruling. No court in the US can argue with that.

    I quote from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:

  33. All it said is that, in that particular case, “given its particular physical setting”, it was a “permissible” display.

    Ehhem “permissible” I wonder what that means????
    I can tell you. If its permissable and I ask for it, it turns into a MUST. Why has Chabad not lost a menorah case in years?

  34. Yeruchemdee,

    You responded (#42) before you saw my newer post (#41). It’ll answer most of your question.

    The U.S. Supreme Court decision you quoted (with the unreliable Wikipedia) is not binding legal precedent, as stated directly in the decision. The ruling I quoted from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is binding legal precedent. (I quoted directly from the decision and linked to the full text of that court decision.)

    See post #41 for further details.

  35. ‘the pintele yid does not come out from a Menorah with Santa and the Xmas tree.’

    Santa and the xmas tree are only decorations that enhance the Holiday.

    A Menorah has a spiritual meaning, any unaffiliated Jew will realize that.

    Rodef,

    Your nos. 27 post,
    I dont think there IS a bigger Mitzvah then bringing a Jew back to Yiddishkeit, and if the Menorah acts as the tool (yes, wsx, EVEN next to the tree), then the comparison is fine!

  36. Yeruchemdee,

    From Merriam-Websters:

    Main Entry: per·mis·si·ble
    Pronunciation: p&r-‘mi-s&-b&l
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin permissibilis, from Latin permissus, past participle of permittere
    : that may be permitted : ALLOWABLE

    Note that it does not say must, it says May.

  37. Joseph;
    I am not sure exactyl what you mean…
    The US Supreme court take precedence over ANY other court in the US.

    After reading this http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=492&invol=573
    it seems that its pretty clear that Chabad or any other group can put a menorah on any government property, since it is also a secular symobol.
    It also seems obvious since they won every single case that went to court in the last 15 years.

    I also agree with #45 that regardless of all the other arguments here, if even 1 yid is mekurev to yiddishkayt because of this (and we know that many were) it is worth it.

  38. If its permissable and I ask for it, it turns into a MUST.

    Yeruchem: Is that how they taught you english in Lekvood? permissible means MAY, not must. And it doesn’t magically “turn into” must. The municipality MAY put it up if it chooses too. You can’t sue them to do so (besides that being a chillul hashem.) When Lubavitch or whoever went to court, it was to defend the decision of a municipality to put a Menorah up, not to FORCE them to.

    BTW you claim you are a “Lekvooder” but you know an awful lot about Chabad and its court cases for a Lekvooder. Are you sure your not a Chabadnik? Maybe YeruchemdeeCrownHeights? Not that there is anything wrong with a Lubavitcher, but you should be honest about it.

  39. wsx says;

    ‘NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH LUBAVITCHER….., but you should be honest about it.’

    pfff…… yeah, not that there ia anything wrong with having an opinion, but atleast be honest about it!!!!!!

  40. This is from last year:

    A rabbi out West
    wants some reasons
    why we aren’t with the rest
    this holiday season

    So I wrote this little thing
    not for him alone
    but for all who might sing
    ma’oz tzur on a megaphone

    A six-foot menorah
    in it’s legal place
    standing with the tinsel
    is a disgrace

    Candles in the park
    as night takes over day
    might light up the dark
    but it’s not the Jewish way

    Menorahs on a cake
    and draidel-shaped pizza
    might be fun to make
    but it’s not persumei nissa

    Halacha tells us how
    to give our lives meaning
    it’s not just about
    a warm and fuzzy feeeling

    Yivanim Nikbitzu Alai
    that was back then
    if we do what we should
    it may not happen again

    So let’s do what is right
    not just how we feel
    and perhaps we just might
    see Moshiach – for real!

  41. Shtender;

    Your a talented poet
    and I’m sure you know it

    But there is something lacking
    the content has no backing

    Its not about lighting up a park
    as night takes over day
    but a symbol for Jews who went astray
    It might spark up their soul and return them to the Jewish way

    Tinsel, Santa or Tree
    Thats not what our brehtern will see
    Hopefully the Menorah lit
    will wake them up a bit
    Our efforts will surely make G-d smile
    and then, Moshiach will surely be here ina short while!

  42. >Halacha tells us how
    to give our lives meaning
    it’s not just about
    a warm and fuzzy feeeling

    There we go again.

    The guy in Fort Collins, Colorado doesn’t care whether this has the halachic status of pirssumei nissa (which the menorahs usually do), or whether there is no Torah source that says that public Menorahs are inspiring. What he is looking for is a ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling about Yiddishkait, which will ultimatly be used by Aish when he’s picked up and sent to Lakewood.

    As to the legal status, see for example:

    http://pewforum.org/docs/index.php?DocID=175

    As far as I know, wherever there is the usual US law (except Florida and the like), the legal arguments originaly worked out by Nat Lewin in favor of Menorahs always work.

    The refusals to accomodate Chabad are rooted in the hate of Judaism. Obviously, if they are going to uphold their refusal in court, they are going to try to find some legal reason to bar public displays of the menorah, but don’t fool yourself in to thinking that the legal status of Menorahs is what bothers them.

    And there is no reason why, if a community wants it, that anyone should make any problems regarding Menorahs. And we certainly hope that there is no Frum Yid who wishes to fight Yiddishkait, and justify the stance of anti-semites.

  43. >They don’t blow the shofar on the street or,in the night,when neighbors are sleeping So what does THAT have to do with a menorah in public?

    What does blowing it at night have to do with a Menora in the mall?

    As to the guf ha’taina, generaly, if there is any Mitzva that works in public and is within reason, Chabad will do it there. Perhaps the reason why it’s not done with Shofar is that it will freak people out, and anyway it’s quite difficult to blow Shofar nonstop all day long.

    But there are definitly public Teffilin, public Sukkahs, public meggila readings etc. So I don’t see anything unsual about a public Menora.

  44. Straight Thinking:

    There is no doubt in my mind that the reason they don’t want public menorah dispays is because they hate us. So what? That’s not exactly a new phenomenon. They have hated us for millenia. We will not fix them, that is just the way it is. To file suit in court to have a public menorah display replaced, even if it’s legally correct, does not reflect what we are all about. It amounts to poking an angry dog with a stick. Yes, it wants to attack us, but the bars legally don’t allow it, so let’s poke it because we can.

    Perhaps it will attract wayward Jews, I don’t know. What I do know is that filing lawsuits about it probably turned off more people than a menorah display would attract. Let’s try to attract people by doing what we should, leading good happy halachic lives.

    It turned me off. Just because I’m not off the derech, I still count.

  45. And look what happened in Seattle this past Chanukah. A Rabbi threatened to sue the Seattle Airport since they refused his request to put up a Menorah alongside their Xmas tree. So the Seattle Airport removed the Xmas tree as a result of this Rabbi’s threatened lawsuit.

    That resulted in a very public backlash against Jews, for causing the loss of their Xmas tree. That is what is called a Chillul Hasehem.

    Now you can endlessly debate whether the Airport was legally correct or not in taking down the Xmas tree. But the bottom line is it caused a massive Chillul Hashem.

  46. Joseph,

    You know this double standard doesnt cease to amaze me.

    On the blog about Hirsch, you insist that anyone who wants to keep an open mind is a ‘self hating Jew’. Never mind the fact that if he indeed resisted arrest, as a witness posted on the site,he didnt follow ‘dina malchhsa dina’ and made a chillul Hashem as well!

    But here, you deem your fellow Jew a villain for taking this issue to court when in fact the city council AGREES to take the matter forward!

  47. I am a Chabad Shliach and would like to share one of a dozen stories I know of personally.

    A woman professor (who was formerly intermarried and lives in the mid-west) was invited to a Maryland university to give a lecture.

    As she was walking across the lawn she noticed a program (it was a Menroah lighting with the Governor of Maryland present) taking place outdoors. When she stopped to see what was going on, someone walked over to her and asked her if she was Jewish and handed her a Menorah kit. She took it back to her Hotel and for the first time in over 20 years she “celebrated” Chanukah!

    The next day she took a flight home and when she entered the airport terminal she walked right into a… Chabad menorah display and program in action! Needlees to say, she took this as a sign from Shomayim and is today a frum woman!

    Every year we have a turnout of approx. 350 frieh yidden at our Menorah Lighting. Everyone tells me how proud it makes them feel to be Jewish. Hopefully, when they grow up and continue to be proud of who they are, they themselves will become frum and won’t be worried about…. “mah yomru haogyim”!

  48. One more point:

    As Straight Thinking pointed out, the real reason behind the opposition to public menorah displays is because they hate us. I totally agree. Do you know what Chazal’s reaction to the hatred was? When you live in a place where they hate you, light menorah INSIDE! That’s the whole reason most people light indoors. Apparently Chazal felt that when hatred is apparent, retreat, don’t go on the offensive, it’s not the Jewish way while we are in golus. We keep a low profile.

    We live in a medinah shel chessed by their good graces. For the first time in thousands of years we are tolerated. Must we become intolerable? Do we need to flaunt our religion in the faces of those who hate us? R’ Yaakov Kaminetsky famously said that we should not wear talleism in the street because we “don’t have to act like we own the streets”. I wonder what his opinion would be on public menorah displays.

  49. nameless, I’ll try to simplify the point (even further), so even someone who never learnt Gemorah can understand.

    Multiple kushere eidim testified that Hirsch was treated like vilda chayos by the police.

    Here I haven’t vilified anyone. I point out that threatening to sue to have a Menorah displayed is a Chillul Hashem. A good example is what occured in Seattle this past Chanukah (see above.)

  50. what does a lack of gemoroh learning have to do with the point? Isn’ t it a fact that one must co operate with the authorities wherever you live, and isnt it legal for police to use force when one resists arrest?

  51. nameless, I take the word of the multiple kushere eyewitnesses who testified that the police unjustifiably used force. You choose to believe some eyewitness who unjustifiably takes the goys side.

  52. Joseph,

    who ‘s the decisor and who evaluates which are the Kushere witnesses and who are the unjustifiable witnesses who take the Goys side?

    A further point, why arent we hearing more from
    credible sources(such as shomrim and Hatzoloh etc) on behalf of Mr. Hirsch, I really and truly wish there would be someone who can verify that he fully co operated with the Police and they mercilessly beat him in vain…..

    Seriously….if there is a link which prove the testimony of reliable sources behind Mr.Hircsh, please post!

  53. Read the following story and then say there is no need for public menorahs:

    Rabbi Moshe Bryski, executive director of Chabad of Agoura Hills, CA related the following moving story which recently occurred in Agoura Hills:
    It all began at the home of the Weiss’ on a Shabbat afternoon, where eight yeshiva students from Brooklyn, NY were eating their Shabbat lunch as part of their ten day stay in quiet Agoura Hills.
    The purpose of their visit was not one of leisure or money related, rather it was business; spiritual business.
    Chabad of Agoura Hills hosts one of the largest High Holiday services in North America with over 1500 men, women and children come to connect to their father in heaven on days so awesome as Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
    To accommodate such a crowd, Rabbi Bryski and his team import a team of vibrant, energetic, young yeshiva students who dedicate their free time to help other Jews feel at home in the synagogue.
    This particular Shabbat was the between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, more commonly know as Shabbat Shuvah. They were hosted for the afternoon meal at the hospitable Weiss’ and -as they do best- the meal mysteriously turned in a Chassidic gathering; a Farbrengen.
    As the afternoon moved on and the singing intensified, they noticed a large movers-truck pull up in front of the neighbor’s home. The large truck had the letters of California’s best know “Nice Jewish Boys” movers on it. Before anyone can blink an eye, five burly Israeli boys are hurled into the house and join the lively Shabbat meal.
    A few minutes pass and the SUV of the gentleman moving in arrives. As he tries to locate the men who belong to the truck, he is approached by some of these loving Lubavitcher boys and asked if he would like to join a Shabbat meal. Although taken aback, he kindly accepts the offer and joins his movers and his new neighbors for their Shabbat meal.
    The Shabbat is over and the Weiss’, the boys, the movers, the neighbour and Rabbi Bryski are dancing on the street to Jewish song and joy. A one Mitzvah, from a loving approach to a fellow Jew.
    Before they depart Rabbi Bryski turns to the guest and invites them for the Yom Kippur services, to which they respond “We’ll try”.
    Yom Kippur arrived and the synagogue was packed from wall to wall, the Rabbi begins his sermon and from the corner of his eye he sees the boys enter the back of the Shul for the Kol Nidrei prayer. Another Mitzvah, from a loving approach to a fellow Jew.

    Two weeks go by and the Rabbi receives a letter from Jack. Jack is the new neighbour of the Weiss’ and he is writing to the Rabbi to thank him for the wonderful warm welcome he received to the neighbourhood.
    He concludes the letter by stating the following: Rabbi, I moved to Agoura Hills with a low trust in God. I asked God to send me a sign that he exists on the first day I move in to Agoura Hills. There are no words other than: Rabbi, you were my sign from God. Another Mitzvah, from a loving approach to a fellow Jew.


    Two years elapsed and the Chabad of Agoura Hills hosts a free lecture on “Why do bad things happen to good people”, Jack attends and seats himself in the front row.
    After an hour-long emotional and heart wrenching lecture by Rabbi Bryski there was not one dry eye in the room. As people are leaving the room Jack approaches Rabbi Bryski and embraces him intensely giving the Rabbi signals that there was a painstaking story behind the life of his now good friend Jack.
    After sitting over a coffee for an hour, Jack’s bitter past surfaced and with his permission at a later date, Rabbi Bryski related to us the shocking and startling journey of his friend Jack:
    Jack was a father and husband of an ordinary loving American family, living with his wife and three children was a true gift from the one above as he couldn’t be any more grateful for the blessing He had bestowed upon him and his family. It was until that dark horrifying day when two of Jack’s three children were instantly killed in a horrifying car collision on the highways of California.
    The days, weeks and months following only got worse and Jack’s marriage entirely fell apart, due to this terrible episode, until divorcing his wife.
    The subsequent weeks and months didn’t prove to be any better and Jack made the dreadful decision to end his life due to his inability to live under the pressuring circumstances he found himself in.
    It was on that evening prior to committing this frightful act, Jack picked-up his daughter for the final time and planned the night at a quite cinema in a dying mall at the end of town. As they parked their car and approached the theatre Jack hears Jewish music as he sees a group of Chassidic Rabbis along with tens of people dancing around the now lit menorah on the fourth night of Chanukah.
    Before he knows it, he and his daughter are dancing in this large circle of Jewish children and their parents to the joyful music of Chanukah. It was at that moment that Jack made the conscious decision, that there will be more times in his life where he will dance with his daughter; he voided any previous plans or thoughts that he had until that moment.
    It was that night that he made the decision to restart his life and move out to a new town to give it another try with one condition attached to the plan. He spoke to God, asking him for a sign that he exists on the first day of his arrival to his new town Agoura Hills California. That first day was that at the home of the Weiss’ on Shabbat afternoon.
    Rabbi Bryski, as he’s listening to Jack’s story cannot believe the details of this tale. He runs over to the photo album bookshelf in his office and pulls down the Chanukah album of that specific year where he made a “Public Menorah Lighting” in that specific mall. Low and behold, there it was a picture of Jack and his young daughter dancing to the joyful music. Another Mitzvah from a loving approach to a fellow Jew.
    As Rabbi Bryski finished the story, he notes: It was that year that the choice of a mall to hold the annual –traditional- Chabad “Public Menorah Lighting” was not one that he was satisfied with, as he was unaware of the low popularity the shopping mall had.
    The power of the seemingly small acts in our lives, are the acts that will and can change the life of a person we may never meet again. We must never undermine the capabilities of our small accomplishments toward our spouses’, children or co-workers

  54. I would like to respond to #59 as his question, in my opinion, brings out the crux of the issue (if there ever was one).

    #59 writes “We live in a medinah shel chessed by their good graces. For the first time in thousands of years we are tolerated. Must we become intolerable?”

    I’ll answer that by focusing on another ‘tainah’ that was brought up earlier which was summed up in that ‘qute’ little dity someone posted: “Halacha tells us how, to give our lives meaning; it’s not just about, a warm and fuzzy feeling”.

    The issue is not what it is meaningful and what isn’t. It’s about what works in being mekarev Yidden who don’t have particular interest in Yiddishkait, and what they find meaningful.

    You know, it doesn’t say anywhere in the Torah to dance. Doesn’t mean that all Kiruv organizations without exception won’t make use of spirited dancing to be mekarev Yidden. It doesn’t say anywhere that beautiful Kumzitz music is meaningful, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done for Kiruv (see #8). It doesn’t say anywhere that a fun summer camp with trips and who-knows-what is the way to get kids excited about Yiddishkait, but that doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with it.

    And you know, 20 years down the line, they won’t remember all the great proofs in the Torah’s truth that they heard at an Arachim seminar, they won’t remember all the inspirational speeches, they will remember the avir, the ruach, the special ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling they had in their encounter with Yiddishkait.

    A chanukka Menorah is no different. Already in 1982 the Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote that the public Menorah “has been an inspiration to many, many Jews and evoked in them a spirit of identity with their Jewish people …. To many others, it has brought a sense of pride in their Yiddishkeit.” You can’t deny it. Ask any Shliach.

    Now, with this in mins, let me ask you: if the government, out of hatred for Jews, refused to let Oorah open their camp (or refused them funding which they give to everyone else etc.), would your reaction be ‘well, we shouldn’t start up, they probably have some kind of legal problem with it’ or would you demand justice?

    There is nothing different about a public Menorah. There is nothing intolerable about requesting permission for a perfectly legal pe’ula which is mekarev Yidden. This is something that has been mekarev hundreds of Jews, and no self-respecting Jew should allow any anti-semite to stop it.

  55. who ’s the decisor and who evaluates which are the Kushere witnesses and who are the unjustifiable witnesses who take the Goys side?

    nameless, That would be me. I’ll put on my robes, get my powdered wig, sit in judgment, and render a just verdict.

    Give me a holler when so needed.

    Judge Joseph

  56. WSX,

    Because I think that lubavitch has a point, that means that I am a chabadnik from crown heits????

    By the way, my knowledge of the lubavitchers comes along with my line of work is connected to my line of work which means that I travel a lot and have spent dozens of shabosim with chabad over the last 15 years.

    I feel like I get both views the Lakewood one and the lubavitch one straight from lubavitch shluchim.

  57. You know, it doesn’t say anywhere in the Torah to dance. Doesn’t mean that all Kiruv organizations without exception won’t make use of spirited dancing to be mekarev Yidden. It doesn’t say anywhere that beautiful Kumzitz music is meaningful, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done for Kiruv (see #8). It doesn’t say anywhere that a fun summer camp with trips and who-knows-what is the way to get kids excited about Yiddishkait, but that doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with it.

    That’s all true. The difference is that it isn’t shoving our religion in the faces of the non-jewish majority of this country. This is not our country, we shouldn’t act like it is. I have no problem with public menorahs in Israel.

    A chanukka Menorah is no different. Already in 1982 the Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote that the public Menorah “has been an inspiration to many, many Jews and evoked in them a spirit of identity with their Jewish people …. To many others, it has brought a sense of pride in their Yiddishkeit.” You can’t deny it. Ask any Shliach.

    I realize that the Rebbe encouraged this, and far be it from me to argue with him. All I can say is I don’t understand his cheshbon. The ends do not justify the means even when it comes to kiruv rechokim. The gedolim I follow are more like R’ Yaakov Kaminetsky.

    Now, with this in mins, let me ask you: if the government, out of hatred for Jews, refused to let Oorah open their camp (or refused them funding which they give to everyone else etc.), would your reaction be ‘well, we shouldn’t start up, they probably have some kind of legal problem with it’ or would you demand justice?

    Again, the difference is that a camp is not publicly shoving our religion in anyone’s face. It’s a private little community. It’s very different.

    There is nothing different about a public Menorah. There is nothing intolerable about requesting permission for a perfectly legal pe’ula which is mekarev Yidden. This is something that has been mekarev hundreds of Jews, and no self-respecting Jew should allow any anti-semite to stop it.

    It’s very different in my opinion as I noted above.

  58. Shtender,

    two points,

    1) the 1st paragraph you cited was regarding whether it is appropriate or not, not whether it’s worth the fight.

    2)”shoving our religion in the faces of the non-jewish majority”. m’ken shoin meinen. You’re looking at the menorah as a threatening Jewish icon which screams “We’re Jews! We own the place!”. It’s b’sach hakol a small piece of metal which takes up a small amount of space the way you do when you are in the airport.

    It’s amazing how the the people who complain about how insignificant and unimportant the public menorah is, also mannage to portray it as a bombastic creature which manages to get all the goyim mad (but of course will go entirly unnoticed by Jews and “won’t be mekarev anybody”).

    Get a life!

  59. Straight Thinking,

    How would you like to see a cross, the same size as a Chabad Menorah, at every airport and city hall for the Xmas season?

    Just a small piece of metal?

    Many Christians feel that way about that “small metal” Menorah on public property.

  60. 1) the 1st paragraph you cited was regarding whether it is appropriate or not, not whether it’s worth the fight.

    I still feel it’s entirely innapororiate. I don’t see why you got the impression that I changed my mind?

    It’s amazing how the the people who complain about how insignificant and unimportant the public menorah is, also mannage to portray it as a bombastic creature which manages to get all the goyim mad (but of course will go entirly unnoticed by Jews and “won’t be mekarev anybody”).

    Ummm, wow. I never said it’s insignificant or unimportant. I never said it would go unnoticed by anyone. On the contrary, I think Chabad makes a supreme effort to get it noticed by everyone, even to the extent of filing lawsuits. I never said it won’t be mikarev anyone. Are you responding to someone else? I said the ends don’t justify the means, even if it would be mikarev someone.

    Get a life!

    Fantastic.

  61. Shtender,

    1) the paragraph in question was explaining why Menorahs are a valid tool for Kiruv. What did your response “That’s all true. The difference is that it isn’t shoving our religion in the faces of the non-jewish majority of this country. This is not our country, we shouldn’t act like it is. I have no problem with public menorahs in Israel” have to do with anything.

    Now, I hope you understand what I meant when I wrote “the 1st paragraph you cited was regarding whether it is appropriate or not, not whether it’s worth the fight”.

    2) the paragraph in question was addressed to those who are hypocritical. See the 1st post for example. If it doesn’t apply to you, than that’s okay.

    My point was to stress how people are opposed to Lubavitch for reasons they cannot explain. As soon as they hear that Chabad is putting up Menorahs, they are immediatly against it. First they say that legal enforcement is shoving our religion in people faces. Than they change their argument and say that actually the Menora itself is offensive (if you read the posts carefully you’ll notice that little switcharoo). When all else fails, suddenly they decide that it won’t be mekarev anybody.

    Again, based on assumption A that it is a great tool for being mekarev Jews, and assuming that nobody has any reason to find a singular Menorah in a mammoth airport/mall offensive (Joseph, I find Christianity offensive. If there was a giant Buddha, no, I wouldn’t care. There are stupid billboards that take up much more space), than no, there is no reason why a request to put one up should be rejected.

    As to the seattle incident, I’ll repeat what I wrote earlier:

    “Chabad has actually sued many times (not last year for the first time, as was written) and as said before, they always win. What happened last year, was that in order to make Chabad look bad, they took down the trees. So basically, Chabad was framed. That doesn’t mean that you have to take the anti-yiddishkait stance.”

  62. Straight Thinking,

    Once again trying to skirt the issue by attempting to make it appear more complicated then it actually is. The fact is there are multiple reasons not to stick Menorahs in every non-Jews face. Its not this reason or that reason. It is all of the above.

    If you don’t mind a cross the size of a Chabad Menorah at your closest public property, I feel sorry for your lack of sensitivity. I do. And I don’t want to give them reason to put them up all over public properties.

    The fact is the Seattle Airport didn’t want the Buddist and the Hindus and the Muslims and every other religion come running and demanding their favorite symbol. So they took down the Xmas tree in response to that Rabbis massive chillul hashem. That enraged Christians all over this country, as that story spread like a fast-burning wildfire.

  63. Presently there are thousands of Menorah in public places. For many Jews distant from observance they have been transforming for their Jewish identity. They have learned that they should be proud as Jews. This important change is dramatic. Beyond that the annual Menorah lightings always draw Jews out of the woodwork. This for many is an entry level event for involvement with Yiddiskiet. Seizing that opportunity can help bring many along the road to Yiddiskiet. The problems, such as Ft. Collins and Seattle are very few.In almost all cases Menorahs go up with little of no resistance. In the past that resistance came from secular Jews who did not want any proud exhibition of Jewish identity. Non Jews, as rule respect in this country an expression of religious identity.

  64. We didn’t put Menorah’s allover the place in the streets in der alte heim.

    Whats gotten into these people here in America to stick their thum in everyones noses?

  65. The fact is there are multiple reasons not to stick Menorahs in every non-Jews face. Its not this reason or that reason. It is all of the above

    Wow. I can’t possibly fathom what amazing zechus the public menorahs have, which earned them the special ‘geder’ of “Its not this reason or that reason”.

    I could empathise though with complaints about how complicated it seems. Especially when the ‘taina’ about how suing is wrong suddenly turns into a ‘taina’ about how although suing is fine, it’s not fine when it’s about somehting public, which essentially means there is nothing wrong with suing, it’s just that public menorahs is “shoving” religion. How the same person can also maintain that “the real reason behind the opposition to public menorah displays is because they hate us”, which means that there is nothing wrong with Menorahs, and that really, regular people don’t feel intimidated at all, it’s just that they refuse us stam out of hatred, which essentially leads us back to the first ‘taina’ creating a ‘galgal hachozer’ of cirular reasoning, is, I guess, one of the mysteries of creation.

    If you don’t mind a cross the size of a Chabad Menorah at your closest public property, I feel sorry for your lack of sensitivity. I do.

    Genius in our days! I already explained that Jews would be offended of crosses because they find christianity offensive. Would you really care if there was a Kwanzaa symbol in JFK airport?

    I don’t want to give them reason to put them up all over public properties

    One has nothing to do with the other. The menorahs do not go up as a religious symbol, rather as a symbol of “unity” or whatever. The Cross does not have that distinction.

  66. the Seattle Airport didn’t want the Buddist and the Hindus and the Muslims and every other religion come running and demanding their favorite symbol

    uh, did they? What makes you think they will?

    So they took down the Xmas tree in response

    Mimah nafshach, if there is something inherently wrong with putting up Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim symbols in an airport, than they wouldn’t be allowed to; If there is nothing wrong, than why were they trying to prevent that? Not to mention that admittedly nobody ever heard of such a request, rather we are just talking about a bunch of hypothetical Buddhist, Hindus and Muslims.

    Rather, as we will all readily admit, it was a case of a bunch of scoundrels trying to frame a Rabbi.

    A good rule of thumb is that if you have to sue to get a Menorah, it is probably causing a Chillul Hashem

    see posts 1-76.

    We didn’t put Menorah’s allover the place in the streets in der alte heim

    Simply brilliant.

  67. ST: The Seattle Airport stated when taking down the Xmas tree, that they declined to put up a Menorah despite that Chabad Rabbi’s threat to sue precisely because they were concerned that next the Buddhist, Hindus, Muslims, etc. will all come with each their own never-ending demands for some kind of symbol. So that was the Airports itselfs taineh. Whether it is valid or not, the fact is that as a result Christians across the country became enraged at what was triggered by that Chabad Rabbi, and essentially blamed it on the Jews, not knowing the difference between a Chabadnik and someone else.

    To an average Christian on the street, not familiar with all the legal intricacies as to what is technically considered a religious symbol by law and what technically is not, if the Jews can get a Menorah at every airport, city hall, etc., they would like to know why they cannot get a similar sized cross.

    Frankly, if that is the trade-off, imho I don’t think it is worth it.

  68. Joseph,

    I can’t possibly agree with what you’re saying before you can:

    1) bring evidnece of a single Buddhist, Hindu or Moslem ‘demand for some kind of symbol’,

    2) explain how the fact that “an average Christian on the street, not familiar with all the legal intricacies as to what is technically considered a religious symbol by law and what technically is not” justifies taking down trees (or, alternatively, is a reason why Chabad shouldn’t force the issue of public menorahs)? What does the average guy on the street’s ignorance have to do with the airport?

    3) explain in logical terms, why, if it is the legal right of the Buddhist etc. to ‘demand some kind of symbol’ (which it happens not to be, not to mention that they would have no reason to, unless they would do it aff tzeloches because of this story, which would be the airport’s fault, not Chabad), why the airport would want to stop them from exercising their valid and legal right?

    In short, although I am aware what the Airport’s taina was, it admittedly doesn’t make much sense, and was cearly done out of hatred. So again I am left to wonder as to why you are taking their side?

    Whom do you prefer, antisemites or Chabad (as in like whatever “enraged at what was triggered by that Chabad Rabbi, and essentially blamed it on the Jews, not knowing the difference between a Chabadnik and someone else” is supposed to mean)?

  69. ST:

    Again, reread what I wrote. I said that the Seattle Airport made that argument that if they acquiesced to that Rabbi’s demand, they were concerned that the next year every other mom and pop religion will demand their preferred non-sectarian “non-religious” (I like that one the best; does anyone really believe that a Menorah is a non-religious symbol? It is about the most religious symbol in Judaism) symbol.

    And, like I also previously stated, whether they were correct or not in that concern, the bottom line was a massive chillul hashem, as that situation made national news.

    And like I’ll also repeat for your benefit once more, its not worth causing such a chillul hashem and hatred of Jews by the general public to get a Menorah on public property, whether you are in the legal right or not.

    And finally it is also worth repeating once more, that your attempt to portray that your either with Chabad or with the anti-semites is just plain silly and does not enhance your argument.

  70. It should also be noted that no municipality is required to put a Menorah on public property just because some Chabad house so demands.

    It has been decided that a municipality may, at its choosing, put one up.

    So to threaten to sue to get your way, is at best disingenuous. It is legal fiction that there is any such requirement. And before pulling up your favorite court case, read it carefully and you will see that it contains no such requirement. Rather it merely accepts that if the municipality decided to put it up, there is no basis to force the municipality to remove it due to a violation of church and state.

  71. Again, reread what I wrote

    Why are you avoiding what I wrote, especially considering that I had already written:

    “In short, although I am aware what the Airport’s taina was, it admittedly doesn’t make much sense, and was cearly done out of hatred. So again I am left to wonder as to why you are taking their side?”

    My entire post was a response to what you wrote.

    I like that one the best; does anyone really believe that a Menorah is a non-religious symbol?

    Who cares what anybody thinks? It is a strictly legal issue. And please name the “non-sectarian “non-religious”” symbols you’re talking about, and in addition, perhaps, be so kind to respond to my arguments, because you seemingly don’t have a problem with repeating yourself, I do find it particularly annoying to do likewise.

    And like I’ll also repeat for your benefit once more, its not worth causing such a chillul hashem

    May I remind you that public Menorahs have been around for 30 years, and such a thing has never happened. Did you expect the Chabad Rabbi to be a prophet? I would think that had he known what would happen, he would plan his approach a little differently, as he certainly did not gain from the negative media coverage and the hate mail.

    Not to mention that I already addressed this issue a few times from all angles (I would think), so what purpose does your repetition serve (beside sophistry)?

    And finally it is also worth repeating once more, that your attempt to portray that your either with Chabad or with the anti-semites is just plain silly

    Your opinion is appreciated.

  72. Now, you have finally explained what it is that bothers all the ‘faina menschen’ who simply cannot bear the terrible tzara of the public Menorah.

    I couldn’t have explained it any better.

    U’m’saymin b’tov.