A Tenafly, N.J., family was joined by neighbors in a Christmas Eve display with decorative luminary candles lined up along the street, but it didn’t sit well with some people.
According to PIX11, Jason Alvator was told by Mayor Peter Rustin that a Jewish neighbor found the presentation of 300 luminaries, which other neighbors helped set up along their street on Joyce Road, to be offensive.
“He just said he’s also Jewish and could understand and empathize with someone who was offended by these candles,” Alvator told PIX11 News.
“It kind of felt like the Grinch was knocking on my front door and my children felt the same way,” said wife Loran. “They were confused by what was happening.”
The Alvators believe a personal visit by the mayor was not necessary.
The mayor spoke with PIX11, saying that the display violated a town ordinance, which states, “No person shall place any sign or advertisement, or other matter upon any pole, tree, curbstone, sidewalk or elsewhere, in any public street or public place, excepting such as may be authorized by this or any other ordinance of the Borough.”
“The reality of it is he put 200-300 luminaries in the street and you’re not allowed to place anything in our streets without permission,” Rustin told NJ.com. “He has since claimed he got permission from the police and fire department, but that’s not true.”
However, the display had, in fact, been cleared with local fire and police departments.
“It had nothing to do with religion. It was about bringing people in our neighborhood closer together,” Jason said.
“Unfortunately, the mayor’s actions were violating to our family,” Loran said.