Page 10 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • December 9, 2009 Ho-Ho-Kus Holiday display includes dreidel for first time by Jennifer Crusco Two years after he began his quest to have a traditional Jewish symbol added to the holiday display on the Ho-HoKus Town Green, Dr. Steven Materetsky has reached his goal. The newly-constructed, approximately five-foot tall, lighted cultural symbol arrived last week, just in time for this year’s tree lighting. When Dr. Materetsky attended a Ho-Ho-Kus Council meeting in May, he was referred to the Ho-Ho-Kus Recreation Commission. At that time, Mayor Thomas Randall told Materetsky the council controls the property, but does not run the holiday celebration. Last week, Materetsky explained that he and some 30 other supporters attended a meeting of the commission, whose members soon expressed support of the addition to the holiday display. Recreation Commission Director Ed Gartner and Recreation Commission President Gordon Hamm, who is also a member of the borough council, were very helpful in facilitating the request, the doctor reported. “It’s something else for the kids to enjoy,” Hamm commented. Just after the dreidel was delivered last week, Materetsky, his wife Tracy, and their children drove by the Town Green. “For the first time, my four-year-old and my seven-yearold had something they could relate to, and they couldn’t ��������������� �������������� �������������������� �������������� ������������������� ������������� � ������ ����������� � ��������� �������������� � ������ ������������ � ������ ������������� The dreidel and stand have been in place on the Ho-Ho-Kus Town Green since last week. ��������������������������������������������� ����������������������� 201-444-9995 • OPEN 7 DAYS 9AM–9PM �������������������� ���������������� ������������������ ����������������������� Premium Fresh Cut Trees ���� �������� ������������������� �������������������������� ����������������������������������� ����������� ���������������������� ���������������� ������������� ������������ SANTA’S HELPER COUPON SANTA’S HELPER COUPON SANTA’S HELPER COUPON Any ��������� Tree I��S���� ��������������� ���������������� 10% OFF �������������� ����������������� ���������������������������� 10% OFF ������������� ���� $ ����� �������� �������������� ��������� ���������������� 13500 ������������ ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� � contain themselves,” the doctor said. “The structure is beautiful. That was the point of this: to enhance an already beautiful downtown.” He added that he believes other people will appreciate the dreidel. Materetsky credited his wife with continuing to press for the inclusion of a Jewish cultural symbol in the holiday display. He previously said he found it disheartening to see only one set of symbols at holiday time, and was interested in a more diverse display. Materetsky said he is Jewish and his wife is Roman Catholic, but asserted that he was not specifically looking for the addition of a religious symbol. He has pointed out that a dreidel is a toy that has become associated with the festival of Hanukkah, just as the tree, though not a religious symbol, is representative of Christmas. In December 2008, Materetsky’s proposal to add a dreidel to the green stalled when the council took no action at its last public meeting before the December celebration. Materetsky had previously proposed the addition of a menorah, but Mayor Randall encouraged the use of secular symbols for the display. The resident then suggested the dreidel, which appears in other local municipalities’ holiday displays. In November 2008, borough officials said they did not wish to add a menorah to the display. They said that no religious symbols are currently part of the annual tree lighting ceremony, and they did not wish to set a precedent. An advisory from the New Jersey League of Municipalities that is dated Nov. 7, 2008 states: “Individuals who seek to have a more traditional religious symbol included in the municipal display, such as a menorah or a crèche, argue that their right of free speech is being denied when the municipality does not include it. There is a real danger to the municipality accepting that argument, since that would effectively render the area where the holiday display is placed a ‘public forum.’ Once that occurs, it will be extremely difficult to prevent other displays that individuals or groups wish to see at that location in order to convey their particular message.” Last week, Mayor Randal said, “I’m glad the Ho-HoKus Recreation Commission was able to look at it and find a suitable dreidel to place on the green.” He said the resident’s inquiry was worked out within the spirit of the annual display and with an eye toward appropriate scale and aesthetics.