New York Grocery Store Takes Heat for Menorah and Christmas Tree

A Windsor Terrace grocery store manager came under fire from customers for installing and promptly removing a menorah and a Christmas tree he had placed in front of his store. For the second year in a row, Key Food manager Mike Jordings allowed Rabbi Moshe Hecht to put a 10-foot tall menorah in front of his Prospect Avenue store during Hanukkah. But by the third night of the Festival of Lights, complaints about the Jewish icon were getting intense. “I was trying to be festive, but my everyday customers didn’t feel that way,” he told the Daily News. “They felt uncomfortable.”

So Jording did what any rational business owner would do — he put up a Christmas tree beside it. But that didn’t stop the complaints from customers, who went so far as threatening to vandalize his store if he didn’t remove the Hanukkah symbol. That left him with only one choice — taking down both holiday decorations. “I heard complaints both ways — about the menorah and the tree,” he told The Brooklyn Paper. “That’s why I took them both down. I’m a supermarket, not a religion.”

But when he removed the menorah, Rabbi Hecht called him out in a letter on an online community group: “We are extremely disappointed by the manager’s decision and more dismayed by the apparent lack of neighborly respect for our holiday celebration. It would be very helpful for everyone to personally speak with the manager, Mike Jording.” While anti-Semitism remains a heated issue in Windsor Terracethe Times notes that “Mr. Jording was no longer the main target.” For his part, Jording says he has figured out a way to avoid controversy next holiday season—”You’re not going to see any religious symbols outside the store next year”—though he later hedged to the Daily News that he might bring them back.

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