Dear Rabbi Schneerson:

Shalom u'vracha.

Thank you for your letter of 13 Kislev responding to our letter of December 2.

In your letter you refer to the installation of a menorah at Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. in 1979 and the participation of President Carter in the ceremony. You indicate the fact that this was "constitutional, legal and proper goes without saying since the President of the U. S. personally participated in it.”

But the following year the President did not participate — instead he sent two Jewish appointees to the ceremony. And this year the President neither participated nor sent representatives. I believe it would be unsound legally to attribute significance of Constitutional dimension to the presence or absence of the President.

You are of course correct in pointing out that the menorah in the Nation's capitol was introduced without anyone making an issue of it. But it is also correct to point out that this was preceded for many, many years by the highly publicized installation and lighting of the Christmas tree on the White House lawn. We all recognize that events in the Nation's capitol are often unique rather than precedent making.

That situation clearly does not apply to our community. Not only is there no ceremonial installation of a Christmas tree on public property, there has been a steady reduction of all Christological elements in public life.

In our considered judgment this progress would be reversed if a menorah were installed on public property in Teaneck. We have consulted with the Rabbis of the congregations in Teaneck and they concur with our thinking.

We did not discuss these legal or constitutional issues in our first letter because in our view the community relations aspect is paramount.

We hope you will favor us with your views regarding the concerns expressed in our first letter.

Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

Jewish Community Council
Linda Gissen, President