View Mobile Site
zone code Advantage Code _
 

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

 

Not a kosher scene on the west side

Posted: December 10, 2008 9:38 p.m.
Updated: December 11, 2008 4:59 a.m.

Motorists drive past a nativity display in Stevenson Ranch at the corner of Stevenson Ranch Parkway and Holmes Place early Wednesday evening.

 
Holiday lights illuminated a debate over the meaning of Christmas and religious tolerance in Stevenson Ranch on Wednesday.

Stevenson Ranch Homeowners Association officials decorated and lit their holiday tree Dec. 7 with a ceremony that included a visit from Santa Claus.

"We make sure the ceremony isn't religious and the tree celebrates all faiths during the holiday," said Greg Waugh, association board president.

However, a menorah was not displayed and some Jewish residents were upset, said Waugh.

"The holiday celebration had Santa Claus, which is a symbol of Christmas. Without the menorah it begs the question, ‘Where is the Jewish community's representation at the event?'" said Rabbi Mark Blazer of Temple Beth Ami.

The Dec. 7 tree lighting came days after a confrontation at the Dec. 3 West Ranch town council meeting, Waugh said.

He made a presentation before the town council and was asked by association members and town council president Dave Bossert whether Waugh was putting up a menorah.

"I said, ‘No, Dave, I am not putting up a menorah,' but anyone who wants to is welcome to do so," Waugh said.

He claims Bossert verbally threatened him and said there would be a problem if Waugh didn't put up the menorah. Waugh asked three Jewish families in the association if any of them were interested in putting up the menorah and all of them declined.

"I don't feel it's my place to put up the menorah because I am not Jewish and it's not the HOA's place to put up religious decorations," Waugh said.

The menorah is stored in a community locker owned by the homeowners association. The menorah is owned by Temple Beth Ami, Waugh said. In years past the menorah was put up by neighborhood volunteers, he said.

One of the volunteers was Bossert, who refused to volunteer to put up the menorah this year, Waugh said.

"That's a bunch of baloney. (Waugh) is trying to pin this on me," said Bossert, an association member.

"This is a community menorah. He is going to have to take responsibility for this."

Bossert, who is Jewish, said he was out of town the weekend of Dec. 6 and 7.

"What are we paying dues for?" Debbie Haas asked.

She said it's Waugh's duty to put up the menorah and is concerned he didn't feel comfortable doing so.

Bossert's Web site comments on the matter were distributed in an e-mail from Temple Beth Ami on Wednesday.

As the religious storm continued Wednesday a pre-approved nativity scene was erected on the site.

"This is not the best timing, but I don't think people are trying to stick it to us," Blazer said.

Waugh issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon that the HOA found a volunteer to display the menorah, he said. The menorah, which features nine candle-holders and has been a symbol of Judiasm for almost 3,000 years, should be in place today.

The damage will not be undone, Blazer said.

"How many Jews need to be here to acknowledge the Jewish community?" Blazer asked.

Waugh doesn't see the issue as resolved, either.

"It's a political mess that Mr. Bossert started," he said. "It's not resolved because he launched a miscommunication and propaganda campaign against me."

Comments

Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

 
 

Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...