Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Chabad Trees Airport Over Menorah Omission
The holiday trees are back up in the Seattle-Tacoma airport. They were taken down last week when Chabad-Lubavitch, the Jewish Orthodox educational group, threatened to sue unless the airport added the menorah. The airport authorities said they didn’t want to get started with covering all the religions, and so wanted a purely secular holiday tree. The draft of the lawsuit complaint claimed irreparable damage if there was no menorah by December 15, when Hanukkah begins at sundown.
The lead plaintiff, Elazar Bogomilsky, a Chabad rabbi, stressed that he never said to take the trees down: “By no means did we want to take away any religious symbols or trees from any other culture.” Unfortunately Chabad published its email address on its web site, and if you think the Grinch got heat… Well, Rabbi Bogomilsky et al said they never intended to file the lawsuit, and joined in the request to restore the trees. So they are back, “just lights and snowflakes and holiday trees” said the airport director.
Makes you wonder if Chabad has heard that Wal-Mart is wishing people a Merry Christmas again. But anyway, the tragedy here, of course, is not being familiar with the plastic reindeer rule. See blog of April 25 etc. The airport could have stuck in a menorah as long as they added something like Frosty the snowman, or, of course, a plastic reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh. It wouldn’t have hurt to carve that symbol on the tree, either.