A Medford display was meant to celebrate Hanukkah. Now, the city has apologized for an ‘offensive image’ included.

"It just felt like a total slap in the face."

A display in Medford City Hall for a Holiday Extravaganza was intended to celebrate Hanukkah. However, the positioning of the menorah and an image included explaining its symbolism left local Jewish residents dismayed and angry, prompting city officials to apologize.

Sarah Beardslee told WBZ the menorah was backwards. She became emotional talking to the news station, remembering her parents who were Holocaust survivors.

“It just felt like a total slap in the face,” she said.

David Sayres, a former Temple Shalom president, said the image included had “clear anti-Semitic tropes.”

“It was trying to make Hanukkah into a Christian holiday,” he told WBZ. “It had references to the cross, to Jesus, to sins of Israel.”


According to the news station, an image of the display was posted to the city’s Facebook page. It has since been deleted, and the city apologized Friday for the display.

“We are writing to publicly apologize for the harm done to our Jewish neighbors and the community at large through an offensive image used in error at this week’s Holiday Extravaganza,” the city wrote in a statement on Facebook.

“With the intention of including several of the faith traditions that celebrate during this season, we used an image in the public display that both misrepresented the Jewish Hanukkah menorah and that we learned is attributed with Christian symbolism.”

City officials went on to say they would consult with faith and community leaders moving forward to make sure a similar mistake doesn’t happen again.

“We sincerely regret the harm and are committed to learn from this mistake,” the statement said.


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