A Jewish symbol will be joining the holiday decorations in Oak Bluffs.
The Oak Bluffs Select Board unanimously approved a menorah display in Ocean Park during its Tuesday, Nov. 28, meeting, after hearing from its legal counsel.
Chabad on the Vineyard director Rabbi Tzvi Alperowitz made the request. He came before the board earlier in November, asking to showcase the display during Hanukkah to celebrate the Island’s Jewish community, and in the spirit of diversity.
“Town counsel has submitted a lengthy letter basically saying this is consistent with our policy,” board member Gail Barmakian said.
After some discussion, the board unanimously approved having the menorah display in Ocean Park. The board left it up to the Oak Bluffs parks commission’s discretion regarding where in the park the menorah can go.
Alperowitz, who was not present during the meeting, told The Times he was very appreciative of the board’s approval of the menorah, which he said was another show of how the Island excels in diversity.
The rabbi emphasized that “in these dark times,” it was important to celebrate the Jewish community, particularly with the rise in anti-Semitism. He hopes the menorah can be a display that brings hope for Islanders.
“It’s time to be a light unto others,” Alperowitz said.
Alperowitz also shared two pieces of symbolism the menorah brings to Ocean Park. With each nightly lighting of a candle, it reminds people to always do a little bit more each day to bring good into the world. Additionally, the eight candles are separate, yet connected by the menorah. He said this reminds people that there are many different opinions and backgrounds, especially in a “polarized world,” yet everyone is connected. The menorah sends a “message of unity.”