N.Y. town ordered to set up menorah

By The Associated Press
12.04.07

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — A state judge has ordered the city of Poughkeepsie to set up a 22-foot menorah at its traditional spot on Main Street.

The menorah has been displayed for years during Hanukkah at the corner of Main Street and Civic Center Plaza. But city officials this year had refused to let city employees erect the privately owned menorah, citing possible litigation on church-state separation grounds.

Instead, the city offered to set up the menorah in a nearby city-owned lot off Main Street along with holiday displays of other faiths.

But Rabbi Yacov Borenstein of Chabad Mid-Hudson Valley filed an order to show cause in state Supreme Court, asking Judge James Pagones to order the city to erect the menorah at its usual spot. Pagones ruled in his favor yesterday afternoon.

City workers plan to set up the menorah this morning and a lighting ceremony is scheduled for this afternoon to mark the beginning of Hanukkah.

Both sides are expected back in court in January to determine if the city will set up the menorah in future years.