Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Is This Good for the Jews?

I think not...

It looks as though Bogomilsky and his supporter's efforts to get a menorah placed Seattle Airport backfired. If we go by this article in The Seattle Times the Rabbi and friends expected the airport to cave in to their (heavy handed) demands. When are we going to learn? Why throw our weight around when a gentler approach would probably yield positive results? Another chillul Hashem that could have been avoided.

Rabbi gets hate mail over airport Christmas trees
Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:18 PM ET

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A local rabbi is receiving hate mail and angry phone calls after Seattle airport officials took down its Christmas trees in response to his request to include a giant Menorah in the airport's holiday decorations, his lawyer said on Monday.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport removed its Christmas trees on Saturday after Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky threatened to sue the Port of Seattle, which operates the airport, if it did not include a menorah into its holiday decorations.

The rabbi works on behalf of Chabad-Lubavitch, a branch of Hasidic Judaism and an Orthodox Jewish movement.

The removal of the trees sparked a public outcry over what some say was political correctness run amok and part of a trend to adopt a secular tone toward Christmas.

Harvey Grad, the rabbi's attorney, said it was never Bogomilsky's intention to have the trees removed and the rabbi was "saddened" by the port's decision to remove all holiday decorations instead of including the Menorah for Hanukkah.

"We are not part of the war on Christmas," said Grad. "All we asked for was inclusion and now we're getting hate mail and angry messages."

The Chabad of Greater Seattle asked the airport to put the trees back and will not pursue any legal action even if the airport does not include the menorah into this year's holiday decorations.

In a statement, the Port of Seattle said it removed the trees to avoid litigation with a religious group, which wanted to install the menorah and hold a lighting ceremony.

"The airport is not a traditional public forum and it would not be appropriate for such a ceremony, so we made the decision to remove the trees to allow the airport staff to focus on the busy travel season," the Port said on its Web site.