By Jeremy Gillick
Among the many decisions made by New York Court of Appeals judge and newly nominated Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor is a 1993 ruling to allow a Chabad rabbi from White Plains, New York to display a large menorah in a public park.
The city had rejected several similar requests by Flamer in previous years, but that didn’t prevent the rabbi from celebrating. From Sotomayor’s ruling:
Shortly around sundown on December 1, 1991, the first day of Chanukah, Rabbi Flamer and approximately thirty other individuals gathered in Tibbits [park] to celebrate the beginning of Chanukah. Rabbi Flamer brought a two and one-half foot menorah, which was not lit. The gathering lasted approximately twenty minutes, during which time the assembled group performed several traditional dances.
Ironically, the city’s ban seemed to stem largely from Jewish opposition. Sotomayor again:
On December 2, 1991, all seven members of the Common Council met in a public meeting attended by Rabbi Flamer, Corporation Counsel Anthony J. Grant, and numerous community residents. During the Common Council meeting, Rabbi Flamer’s proposed menorah display came under strong attack from members of the White Plains Jewish community. Rabbi Mark Weiner of the White Plains Jewish Community Center asserted at the meeting that the “overwhelming majority of the Jewish community” felt that the proposed menorah display should not be allowed. The American Jewish Committee submitted a letter opposing the display which was read into the record. Continue reading