Dec 12, 2011
Menorah Banned at Denver Center
Menorah lighting last Chanukah in Denver

A recent decision banning a menorah display at a Denver, Colorado community building has disappointed local Shliach Rabbi Levi Brackman.

Denver Post

A recent decision banning a menorah display at a key Evergreen community building has sparked a debate over holiday decorations in the small mountain district.

From 2005 to 2009, the menorah was displayed in December on the back of the Lake House. But the Evergreen Park & Recreation District decided that the symbol cannot be put up this year.

Some members of Evergreen's Jewish community aren't ready to end the debate because a large tree, adjacent to the community's popular hub, remains adorned with Xmas lights.

The colored lights on a tree are not considered by the governing bodies to be religiously affiliated.

The argument is further complicated by the arm's-length relationship between the city and county of Denver — owners of the Lake House since the early 1900s — and the property's manager, the Evergreen district.

In 2010, Hanukkah fell on the first week of December, so it seemed silly to have the display up all month, said Rabbi Levi Brackman, director of Judaism in the Foothills, who lives in Evergreen.

But when he asked to restore the menorah this year — the holiday runs Dec. 20-28 — the district invoked Denver's rule that forbids religious decorations on public property.

"To just take commands from Denver . . . is just really disappointing," Brackman said. "It doesn't feel like community building to me."

The district's policies on holiday displays are at odds with Denver's rules.
In 2006, the Evergreen board established a policy allowing only nondenominational displays in public spaces. However, the policy also states, "holiday lights and Menorah will be exempt from this policy."
Park and recreation executive director Scott Robson said that there were no complaints about the menorah but that he was just trying to prevent future problems with Denver.

Evergreen is unincorporated, so it has no city council.

"It's just not my management style to look the other way and ask for forgiveness later," Robson said. "We're nothing without strong partnerships with other local governments."

Robson said that there is no codified protocol for when the district does or does not defer to Denver's policies but that it always does defer when it comes to the "big-picture issues."

"As far as we know, they don't keep to every single one of Denver's policies," Brackman said. "They make some exceptions."
The Denver Parks and Recreation department supported Robson's decision.
"The reason that was displayed at all was that the manager who was there before didn't consult with Denver," said Denver Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Angela Casias.

Brackman said Evergreen Park & Recreation could have handled this differently.

"They could've approached Denver and tried to ask for some sort of understanding," Brackman said. "Instead . . . it felt like 'What's the best language I can use to tell this rabbi to buzz off?' "

Robson, who has been executive director since April, said he offered Brackman several compromises and is still waiting for a response.

Brackman and a committee of residents plan to petition the Evergreen Park & Recreation board at its meeting Tuesday night.
"It seems like a smoke screen and they just want to get rid of the menorah," Brackman said, "and I don't know why."



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1
when will these stupid ppl learn
NOT ONCE HAS ANY TOWNSHIP OR TOWNBOARD OR ANY ENTITY THAT SOUGHT OUT TO BAN A MENORAH, OR A CONDO THAT SOUGHT TO PROHIBIT THE HANGING OF A MEZUZAH-- NEVER HAVE THEY ONCE WON IN A LEGAL BATTLE AGAINST CHABAD EVER. IN FACT 10 OUR OF 10, THEY PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE, AND USUALLY CHABAD COLLECTS 300K FROM THE ORDEAL. WITH NAT LEWIN AT THE HEAD OF LAW. WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO LOSE, BH!!!!
(12/12/2011 4:24:52 PM)
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