War On Christmas - Take III
It's time for another installment of The War On Christmas, but (thank God), this time the grinch isn't a Jewish one:
Less than a week ago, a 20-foot evergreen Christmas tree in the local village park was alive with festive, flickering lights. And in recognition of the sizable Jewish population here celebrating Hanukkah, a nine-foot-tall menorah stood next to it. The display, an annual holiday tradition, was so bright it could be seen from blocks away.Now, I'm not sure about this one. I definitely would not want to see a Nativity scene going up in every holiday display across America. But it's nice to see this guy recognize that a Menorah is actually very much a religious symbol as opposed to a secular or commercial one, as claimed here by the trustees (and this Chabad Rabbi).
But Henry Ritell, 79, the owner of a local chemicals marketing firm, said he now considered the Christmas tree a cultural symbol, associated more with the spirit of materialism than religion.
Earlier this year, Mr. Ritell, who is Roman Catholic, approached the Briarcliff board of trustees and offered to donate a two-foot-high Nativity scene — Holy Family, the wise men and shepherds — to the park.
So began the saga of the vanishing Briarcliff holiday display.
But rather than accept his offer, the village trustees turned away Mr. Ritell and his crèche, saying they did not want any religious symbols in Briarcliff Manor Law Park. The trustees reasoned that unlike the Nativity scene, the tree and the menorah were commercial symbols, not religious ones. That incensed Mr. Ritell, who filed a lawsuit against the village, contending that the menorah is as symbolic of the “indestructibility of Jewish people and their faith” as a Nativity scene is symbolic of the indestructibility of Catholic Christians.