I had originally conceived this to be a lightly humorous post, but then events took a sad turn.
Last Saturday, my husband and I were walking up and down the historic Main Street (except they call it High Street here) with a Jewish colleague. We were admiring the Christmas lights as evening fell–or rather, my husband and I were admiring the Christmas lights; my colleague was kvetching about how “in your face” Christmas felt to him.
We got to the grassy lawn that I’m guessing from the grazing animal statues was once the town commons. There’s a big evergreen tree growing at one end of the commons, which had been decked out with lights. Across the lawn, there was a big electric menorah. One of the lights on the menorah was burned out, which prompted my colleague to joke that he hadn’t realized we were in the seventh night of Hanukkah already.
Then I realized that the old cannon which happens to stand in front of the evergreen-turned-Christmas-tree happened to be pointing in the direction of the menorah. The (presumably) unintentional effect was that the cannon seemed to be firing on the menorah in defense of the Christmas tree. “Look!” I said. “Christmas has declared war on Hanukkah.”
We all had a loud laugh over that one, and I cajoled my husband into taking a photo. Click to enlarge. You can make out the cannon in front of the tree at the far end of the lawn.
The sad turn to the story is that the next day, my husband and I were again out for a walk up and down Main Street . . . and we saw that sometime during the last 12-18 hours, someone had vandalized the menorah, ripping out several of the candlesticks. The menorah has since been entirely removed.
I’m assuming it was drunken student mayhem, not anti-Semitism per se.