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December 12, 2006

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


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