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Barrington changes law to allow Hanukkah celebration at Town Hall
By Tom Killin Dalglish

Rabbi Mendy Bukiet of Chabad of Bradenton displays a menorah on the roof of his 2003 Sonata, which will light up during Hanukkah.

Rabbi Moshe Laufer will be leading a "grand family Hanukkah celebration" on Barrington Town Hall property.


BARRINGTON — What is being called by its sponsors a "grand family Hanukkah celebration" will take place on Sunday, Dec. 9, in front of Town Hall from 3:30 to 5 p.m. "This is the first time in history in Barrington that this is going to be taking place," said Rabbi Moshe Laufer, director of the Chabad of Barrington, which is coordinating the event. "There has been a lot of strong interest from the Jewish community at large about this," he said.

On seven other days, five before and two after the Sunday grand celebration, daily lightings of what Rabbi Laufer refers to as a "giant menorah" will take place in the late afternoon hours. [See insert.]

The grand celebration scheduled for Dec. 9 will occur exactly one week following the annual tree lighting ceremony on the front lawn of Town Hall at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2.

The event, according to an announcement circulated by Rabbi Laufer, will include "a giant menorah lighting, moon bounce, music and entertainment, hot latkes and refreshments, with gelt for the kids."

He said it will also include an individual entertainer who uses fire "in the same style as the waterfire fire act, putting on a show with fire."

The moon bounce, said Rabbi Laufer, is an inflatable activity that kids can climb into and jump up and down in.

Both events take place under the ground rules governing such occasions that are set forth in two new policies adopted by the town council on Nov. 5. The policies addressed thorny constitutional issues relating to the establishment of religion, separation of church and state, and the free exercise of religion and freedom of expression.

One policy declares that the town's holiday display must be secular only, referring to judicial decisions in this jurisdiction that deem "an evergreen tree with lights, whether a Christmas tree or not, to be a secular symbol."

The second policy provides that "temporary" events can take place on town hall property provided that permits are obtained from the town manager beforehand. An "event" is defined as "any press conference, performance, ceremony, presentation, meeting, rally reception, or gathering of people for a common purpose or cause."

Groups that can conduct "events" on town hall property include any "person or group of persons, or ... any private nonprofit, religious, fraternal, or veteran's organization."

Under the new ground rules for such Town Hall activities, the event staged must to taken down at night and be put up again the next day. Rabbi Laufer said his group will comply with the put up/take down procedures.

Peter DeAngelis, who is responsible under the new policies with approving applications for permits to use the Town Hall lawn, said there are details that still need to be worked out. He said the Hanukkah celebrations will take place "on a combination of areas" — on the driveway in front of Town Hall, on the lawn in front, and in front of the honor roll.

What will happen in the event of rain is "yet to be determined," he said. Both he and Rabbi Laufer indicated the use of the gallery room in the library on Sunday for part of the "grand celebration" was under discussion, but no decisions had been made.

"There's so much celebration at this time of year," said Rabbi Laufer, "that it's important for the community and the children to know what they can connect to."

"Having this event will help people understand each others' communities. This is going to be a great opportunity for people to be educated."

Rabbi Laufer said the role of the Chabad of Barrington is coordinative "and to bring together the Jewish community in Barrington." He said people interested in more information could check the website at
What's happening at Town Hall

All members of public welcomed

What: Grand Family Hanukkah celebration

* Includes: giant menorah lighting, moon bounce, music and entertainment, fire handler, hot latkes, refreshments, gelt for the kids
* When: Sunday, Dec. 9, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
* Where: Town Hall grounds, driveway, lawn, and in front of honor roll
* What: Daily lighting of giant menorah

By Tom Killin Dalglish