Menorah Claim ‘Baseless, Hurtful’

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In response to your article “Right to Light Denied” (Dec. 19) in which both Dr. Gary Pushkin and his wife, Kathy Abbott, accuse the board of managers of the Guilford Association and the trustees of Stratford Green Inc. of being motivated by anti-Semitism in making their decisions regarding a request to place a menorah in Sherwood Gardens, such allegations are baseless, indefensible and hurtful.

I have been an active member of the board since 1995 and served as the first Jewish president of the association for seven years (1999 to 2006). At the present time, two board members are Jewish, and two others have Jewish spouses. This 20 percent representation on the board far exceeds the percentage of Jewish families living in our 800-plus home community.

A longtime Jewish board member was given the task of chairing the committee that worked for two years to run the year-long Guilford centennial celebration. She was Guilford’s representative to the public for this major commemorative and fund-raising event.

The final decision to allow only the holiday tree in Sherwood Gardens was made by association president Tom Hobbs and the other trustees following the board of managers’ recommendation for such a policy. The Pushkins seem to be saying that Tom Hobbs is the leader of a group that is anti-Semitic and has allowed anti-Semitism to rear its ugly head in the Guilford community. No one has worked harder than Tom Hobbs to ensure that the board remains sensitive to all issues relating to the racial and religious diversity of our Guilford families.

One cannot reasonably conclude that the board as presently composed is anti-Semitic or that it made an anti-Semitic decision in this instance. It seems more likely that the Pushkins are using the tactic of playing the race-religion card when they receive an unfavorable decision.

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