“Menorah-Gate” Causes Controversy In Brooklyn

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menorah-gateLou Young of New York’s Channel 2 reports: Holiday tension got a little too intense for a Brooklyn store owner this week. Customer comments over his X-mas and Chanukah displays have him running up the white flag of surrender.

There’s something missing on Prospect Avenue in Brooklyn. It’s a certain holiday spirit that’s lacking.

“He should put them back; He should put them both back,” neighbor Joan Craig said.

At the Key Food in Windsor Terrace, the owner decided to take down a sponsored 10 foot menorah and an X’mas tree because some customers were offended.

“There are people who moved into the neighborhood who don’t want any religious things up,” neighbor Katie Etulanger said, adding she wasn’t offended.

The menorah was next to a X-mas tree, the manager said. He put it up because he got complaints about the menorah last year. He told CBS 2 HD that complaints continued to come this year. He wouldn’t go on camera, but the sponsor of the menorah told CBS 2 HD that an incident Sunday night made him decide to take everything down.

“Unfortunately, some members of the community had ripped off the sign, our sign off the gate wishing everyone a Happy Chanukah,” Rabbi Moshe Hecht said.

“I know why he took them down, because he’d rather take them down than have things escalate and have them be destroyed,” neighbor Mark Elkhouri said.

It’s a sad state affairs, some are saying, that objects meant to bring joy and instead inspiring anxiety.

“Live and let live, that’s our philosophy,” said Rabbi Hecht.

Rabbi Hecht isn’t sure if it is anti-religious or inter-faith tension surfacing. But caving in to either, he said, is a bad idea.

His neighbor, Lutheran minister Rev. Samuel Cruz agrees.

“I wish he would’ve kept them up because I think we must become a much more mature society,” Rev. Cruz.

Or, as Joan Craig, put it: “Let’s just keep the spirit in our heart and have a Merry [X-mas].”

And a Happy Chanukah.

Store owner Michael Jording still has holiday decorations inside his store. The owners of the menorah said they’ll let him hang on to the display for now in case he changes his mind and decides to put it back up.

{NY Channel 2/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Once again trouble. I told this to a friend of mine, and he remarked, that people seek tzoros. We don’t have enough problems and sonim now, that we need more? I know the neigborhood, it is a very not Jewish neighborhood.

    It’s about time that they wakes up and sees that Moshiach hasn’t come yet, we are still in golus, and don’t look for more tzoros for us.

  2. Time to stop the public Menorahs. Why is it that they have hashkofos that are so different then everyone else and they fail to respect majority opinion?

  3. “Live and let live, that’s our philosophy,” said Rabbi Hecht.

    This is not true. To live and let live is to light your menorah at home and in shul. To light menorahs in shops in streets and on cars is not letting live!

    PS I am not anti Chabad!

  4. . Comment from enough already
    Time December 16, 2009 at 9:00 PM

    “Once again trouble. I told this to a friend of mine, and he remarked, that people seek tzoros. We don’t have enough problems and sonim now, that we need more? I know the neigborhood, it is a very not Jewish neighborhood.

    It’s about time that they wakes up and sees that Moshiach hasn’t come yet, we are still in golus, and don’t look for more tzoros for us.”

    He aint comin cause you dont want him…..You seem content without him…..why shake the status quo….right?

  5. Why stop at keeping the Menorah hidden at home? Why not make sure to hide our Tefillen bags, shave our beards (R”L) and make sure to wear a baseball cap to cover our Yarmulka.

    Also, being that “they” don’t like us, why push our identity onto “them”? We’ll all start calling ourselves Smith, Johnson, and Rodriguez.

    In order to ensure “Az M’Shtect Nisht In Der Oigen” we must start dressing like them, acting like them and cursing like them.

    Oh I forget, we tried that many times in the past, I think once they were called the Hellenists.

    Happy Chanukah!

    Chabad PLEASE keep up the good work and don’t listen to the self hating Jews who fill these “frum” sites.

  6. Why don’t the Lubavitchers light menoras in Brownsville, East New York, Harlem, etc.? There are still Yidden who live and work in those places, albeit not as much as years ago. Why not in Saudia Arabia? There are Yidden that pass through there.

    The teirutz is that they know that those places are hostile to such things. For all their rhetoric of mesiras nefesh, they don’t do it in those places. The rhetoric is just that – rhetoric, don’t want to be ch”v attacked/arrested. So the same hands-off/stay-away policy should apply in other hostile situations/areas as well, as in this case

    Vizeh poshut.

  7. how much hate and venom can supposed frum jews have towards other yidden?? maybe we should just be like the “greeks” so everyone one will like us?? wake up! learn from chanukah that a bit of light can dispel much darkness even in the so called frum world. and that you real issue is that you are all uncomfortable in your skin, insecure and otherwise cowardly. why not stand up for a change for what you believe in and start you every morning by blessing g-d that he sent lubvitch to our world and that we are the lucky ones who bask in their shadow and bow in their presence. it has nothing to do with public menorahs, whatever chabad does you will find an issue to pick and a bone to grind. so either come out and say it as it is -you hate lubavitch period- so crawl back into your cave and hide.

  8. To: enough already.

    They don’t go on mesiras nefesh? It’s all rhetoric? Sure, why not tell that to families of the Holtsbergs of India.

    Your blind and perverted hatred towards anything Chabad does is frightening.

    Frankly, and Thank G-d, more and more people are beginning to emulate the work they do for us, and all Jews around the world.

    Yes, they do it for us, don’t kid yourself, we use them whenever we need – all the time all over the place.
    The Macabees of today are the many Chabadniks all over the world.

  9. To #10-Why don’t you go and light a menora in Brownsville? East New York? Harlem?

    Talk is cheap.

    Go out there and light a menora in in one of those areas. Let’s see how brave you are.

    And while you are at it, go light one in Zimbabwe too.

    Mesiras nefesh to light in decent neighborhoods in the USA? Baloney!

  10. Let us learn from the lubavitchers how to bring more jews to feel pride in their yiddishkeyt and let lubavitchers learn to learn from the other qualities of other Jews.

    More achdut will bring all (non lubavitchers and lubavitchers) closer to the (real) mashiach!

  11. All those negative comments. I am not a chabadnik by any stretch but Chanukah the way lubavicth does it is the correct way. Read the Gemara and Halacha. Can you light a Menorah after the streets are empty and late at night when you family is asleeep? The whole point of lighting the Menorah is to do “Pirsuma DeNisa” spreading the word of the Chanukah mircle as it is clear in the Sefarim. So either you guys are “Am Haoretzim” or you have a simple dislike to anything Lubavitch does.

  12. to #5, “shake the status quo”, though you are right that that must be done, it definitely has nothing to do with putting up menorahs in public places, playing annoying music while driving down the streets, etc. to all, we definitely do have to change ourselves, become a more unified ppl, etc. but the way to do it is not by doing the above-mentioned, but rather by learning the torah and doing only what hashem wants. that includes asking a COMPETENT rav who has thrown away the yolk of the world and embraced only the yolk of torah, that is “daas torah”. and yes going around and giving ppl esrogim, helping them put on teffilin, etc. are wonderful things (when done correctly), and lubavitch definitely does do those things and alot more. however to make menorah’s and other things in that category, into PUBLIC parties is uncalled for and fuels antisemitism and public annoyance.(i’m not saying this against lubavitch in specific,but rather, all types of these practices, including drunk “yeshivisher” bochurim on purim). in short, things that we do to improve ourselves, such as making torah (done by chabad) centers in mumbai, and offering ppl a chance to perform a mitzva are beautiful things and we have an obligation to do them, regardless of what goyim think. however, the unnecessary publication of partying, is not a mitzva (though making ppl happy is a mitzva, the point is to play low key and not in-your-face),since it results in negative retaliation, should not be done.

  13. Whooooa. Let’s get this straight.

    I’m not a posek but in my view putting a menorah on a car or in the street like Chabad does is roughly equivalent to hanging a matzah outside your house on Pesach or a lulav on Sukkos. The point of a menorah is pirsumei nisa, and Chaza”l told us what constitutes pirsumei nisa. Electric menorahs on cars does not constitute pirsumei nisa. Why not? Because that’s not what Chazal said. Finished.

    However, the fact that people oppose this is no reason to condemn them as Chabad-haters. In fact, those who accuse these yidden of hating Chabad, believe that they should just “learn to accept the differences”– they are exactly right! I can’t stop them from putting menorahs on their cars, but I can and will disagree with them, albeit while loving and respecting them as fellow Yidden.

    A Freilichen Chanukah.

  14. I was in Brooklyn, NY this past motzei Shabbos and passed by a messianic mitzvah tank at Kings Highway and East 13th street about 10pm. The van was playing music and was covered with signs proclaiming the Rebbe shlita as Messiah. There were some kids nearby shivering out in the cold. What a pathetic sight.

    Refuah sheleima to all those suffering such delusions.


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