Menorah next to RI 'holiday tree' at State House


It’s not a “holiday candelabra.”

It’s a menorah with word “Chanukah” prominently displayed inside the Rhode Island State House rotunda.

The menorah, which is sponsored by a private organization, sits just a couple of feet from the state’s controversial “holiday tree”, which is not called a Christmas tree.

NBC 10 asked Gov. Lincoln Chafee about the contrast.

“I just kept up exactly what had happened in the year before me. I haven’t changed anything,” Chafee said.

The first night of Chanukah is Saturday, and a menorah lighting ceremony is scheduled for Monday night.

The tree-lighting ceremony was last-minute and no frills.

The governor drew even more criticism when he casually flipped the switch during the lunch hour with just 30 minutes notice.

It was a move staffers said was designed to prevent protests that were held last year.

“We’re going to light the tree and avoid the chaos,” said Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger.

At the State House on Friday, NBC 10 talked with parents gathered for a performance by Smithfield High School’s band and chorus.

Some support the governor’s plan to include everyone in the tree’s name.

“I think it’s fine that it’s a holiday tree. I mean, it’s everybody’s holiday this month. It’s not just Christmas. It’s Chanukah. It’s Kwanza,” said Jean Hamel.

Others said if there’s a Chanukah menorah inside the State House, there should also be a Christmas tree.

“It’s ridiculous. Because Christ’s name is in the Christmas tree, they want to take it out. That’s not fair to people who believe in Christ. It’s a Christmas tree,” said Lisa Paiva.


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