BOSTON (CBS) – A woman is on a mission to get a menorah included in the holiday display at the Boston Public Library.
There are wreaths up at the library for the holiday season but no symbol of the Jewish faith.
It’s an effort that’s been underway for two years. Esther Weissman, who lives in the Back Bay, is leading the charge. The library is not budging.
Weissman is a woman with strong beliefs and she wants a menorah at the library to celebrate the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
“That’s all I’m asking for is inclusion in the holiday decorations of a public building,” Weissman says. “Instead I’ve gotten exclusion and I find that really offensive.”
What does Weissman see when she looks at the ribbon decorated wreaths?
“This symbolizes a Christian holiday,” she says.
But the library doesn’t see it that way, saying in an emailed statement, “The wreaths are a seasonal display; they are secular symbols and do not represent any religion.”
They even point to a 1984 Supreme Court ruling that supports the idea that many Christmas items are secular. Mayor Marty Walsh backs the library’s decision.
“They don’t get into the different religions and the different celebrations around the holiday season and I think it’s very clear, this isn’t against any religion,” Walsh says.
People walking by the display today took both sides.
“It’s supposed to be a library, not a church,” a woman said.
“I think it should represent all religions,” another woman said.
“That’s not Christian, it’s just a wreath,” a man said.
Weissman says she’s willing to donate a menorah, but the library won’t accept it.
“You have to represent everybody in a city that talks about inclusion and fairness and diversity,” Weissman says. “You can’t pick and choose.”
The menorah commemorates the miracle of an oil lamp that burned for eight days without being replenished.
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins on December 16th.
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