The Wrong Rabbi
Recently the Christmas trees that graced the Seattle-Tacoma
International Airport for the past 25 years were removed. The
reason? Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky threatened to sue if the trees
weren't "balanced out" by a Menorah to honor the Jewish
holiday of Chanuka.
The airport decided removing the trees was the only
viable solution. Explains Patricia Davis, president of the Seattle
Port Commission, "We were faced with the choice of spending
unknown amounts of the public's money on litigation, or, in the
next few days, trying to figure out how to accommodate all the
cultures in our society."
Rabbi Bogomilsky is reportedly "appalled"
at the result.
One wonders what, exactly, the Rabbi _thought_
would happen. He threatened the airport with a lawsuit if it did
not include a symbol of his religion.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of religions
within the United States alone, many of which celebrate a holiday
on or around December 25. Had the airport bowed to the Rabbi's
demands, it is a virtual certainty that representatives of many
of those religions would follow suit.
The Rabbi's demand to add a Jewish holiday symbol
to the airport's Christmas display was both ridiculous and short-sighted.
In his quest for "equal" holiday representation, he
only succeeded in eliminating from the public eye a symbol of
peace, charity, fellowship and love.
As it happens, the Rabbi came on Michael Medved's
national radio show on December 11 and admitted that he was wrong.
He forthrightly stated that he did not ever want the Christmas
trees actually removed, that the whole issue got out of hand.
He admitted that he had not thought about the results of threatening
a lawsuit, and he frankly regretted everything he did. The Rabbi
now wants the Christmas trees restored, with or without a Menorah.
From JPFO's perspective, the key message for Jews
is not to worry so much about "equal time" for the Menorah.
Rather, it is important for Jews -- and everyone -- to respect
and be thankful for the Christian Americans who established a
nation with a Bill of Rights and a welcoming culture of individual
freedom that have provided the safest place on Earth for minorities
of all types.
Now what we need to do -- whether gathered around
the Menorah or the Christmas Tree -- is pledge to join together
to protect our American values and way of life.
We can start on America's first holy day in December:
Bill of Rights Day, December 15.
- The Liberty Crew
Update: Just prior to sending this alert, we received
the following news story: Trees Being Returned to SeaTac Airport