LAKEWOOD - There is a controversy brewing in Lakewood after a decision to remove a menorah display from the town plaza.
The display already features a Christmas tree and a sign that says “Happy Holidays.” There was a menorah up too, until a member of a local church threatened to sue unless a nativity scene went up under the Christmas tree.
“We were concerned with the lawsuit and we figured let’s just take it down,” says Lakewood Mayor Albert Akerman.
Mayor Akerman says that he thought it was a bit unfair to make the request with such short notice, but thought it was best for the “sake of harmony.”
Lakewood residents of all religions and beliefs tell News 12 New Jersey that they do not think it is fair to have to take the menorah down. Most say that they don’t see how a menorah is any different from a Christmas tree.
Lakewood resident and business owner Harold Herskowitz put his own menorah up on top of his car. He also put another one at the display, but it was taken down.
“I’m not upset that my religion isn't being represented,” he says. “I'm upset because they are not all treated equally. We all have to be tolerant of each other’s religion."
The Lakewood town attorney says that the town will figure out a display that will appease everyone for next year.