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‘We acted too quickly,’ say Canadian city officials, reversing menorah ban

“The decision was wrong and reeks of discrimination,” the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies stated of the initial ban.

Moncton City Hall and downtown skyline in New Brunswick, Canada. Credit: NayaDadara/Shutterstock.
Moncton City Hall and downtown skyline in New Brunswick, Canada. Credit: NayaDadara/Shutterstock.

The city council of Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada, announced on Monday that it opted to reverse its recent decision to stop its 20-year tradition of displaying a menorah at city hall for Chanukah.

“There has been a strong reaction to the city of Moncton’s decision not to install the menorah and nativity scene at City Hall. As a growing city, Moncton is continuously evolving its posture with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion,” stated Dawn Arnold, the city mayor.

“The city wanted to be more inclusive toward our community by repositioning these faith symbols; however, we obviously fell short in this transition,” she said. “Despite our best intentions to do the right thing, we acted too quickly.”

The city council decided unanimously to “immediately display the menorah and nativity scene at City Hall,” Arnold added. “We recognize the lack of reflection and understanding of the impact this decision has had on our community. We apologize if our actions showed a lack of support toward any members of our community.”

“Several councilors apologized for their votes in secret last week, and members of the public in the gallery applauded after the vote,” CBC reported. It added that city hall had displayed Christmas ornaments, a wreath and angels on city property, despite not installing the menorah or nativity scene.

Michael Levitt, president and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, called the initial decision a “reprehensible ban on the menorah from Moncton City Hall.”

“This outrageous decision, which flies in the face of inclusivity and equality, should never have been made. At this time of surging antisemitism, our government leaders should be showing their support for and embracing the Jewish community, not adding salt to the wound,” he stated.

“We welcome Mayor Arnold’s apology and recognition of the hurt the decision caused to Jewish people in Moncton and across the country,” added Levitt.

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