MONT VERNON (CBS) – A New Hampshire community has voted to change the name of a small pond.
Jew Pond is barely a speck on the radar in Mont Vernon, but a debate years in the making will take what some call an offensive name off the maps.
“It really is offensive to a good number of people, and it needs to be changed,” said Rich Masters, Mont Vernon’s health officer.
Masters is the one who had a possible name change for the pond put on the list of articles for residents at the town meeting to vote on.
Some insist the name is just a reflection of the town’s history. According to legend, the locals began calling it “Jew Pond” when two Jewish businessmen bought the property.
Others say it reflects a painful past. Before those businessmen moved in, Jews were not allowed to visit a hotel on the same property.
When college student Katelyn Dobbs produced a documentary about it, she was surprised how many resisted change.
“I didn’t really think that a lot of people in town would be for keeping the name,” said Dobbs.
New Hampshire’s Jewish leaders call it offensive.
“The word Jew, in and of itself, is not a negative, bad word, but if you say, ‘I’m going to see my Jewish doctor,’ it just sounds different than, ‘I’m going to see my Jew doctor.’ It just sounds more like an insult,” said David Stahl of the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire.
In the end, most townspeople agreed and voted in favor of changing the name, bringing peace back to the little pond that had raised a deep divide.