Stacey Harris, a Dunwoody Homeowners Association board member, shows off thenew Light Up Dunwoody banners during the Oct. 4 meeting.
Stacey Harris, a Dunwoody Homeowners Association board member, shows off a new Light Up Dunwoody banner during the Oct. 4 meeting.

Officials of the Dunwoody Preservation Trust say the organization plans to reconsider a request to include a large menorah in the annual Light Up Dunwoody holiday display.

Dunwoody Homeowners Association President Robert Wittenstein said Oct. 4 that the trust, the nonprofit that owns the Cheek-Spruill Farmhouse, had a request from the DHA to include the menorah in the display. The homeowners group sponsors the Light Up Dunwoody event, which will be held Nov. 22 at the farmhouse and includes a Christmas tree and an appearance by Santa Claus. The farmhouse is located at 5455 Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

“We did contemplate in this year’s budget adding a Hanukkah menorah, but we’re not going to be doing that and we’re not going to be doing that because Dunwoody Preservation Trust has refused us permission,” Wittenstein said.

But Dolores Lauderdale, a co-president of the trust, said the organization’s board of directors has not made a final decision on the DHA request and will continue its discussions and take a vote on the request on Oct. 13.

Lauderdale said the trust’s board considers the event to be a secular one, not a religious one. “We’ve never tried to make this into a religious event,” Lauderdale said.

Lauderdale said she and her co-president, Melanie Williams, met with Wittenstein about a month and a half ago to discuss the menorah, but Wittenstein had to leave the meeting early, before a decision was made. The DPT presidents want to meet again with Wittenstein before the board votes, Lauderdale said.

“In our discussion, it sounded to me like they had made the decision,” Wittenstein said. “I reported that to the DHA board – if there is still an opportunity and a process, that’s wonderful and we hope they’ll say ‘Yes.’”

Lauderdale said a small menorah has been displayed in a window of the farmhouse for the past two years and will again be displayed this year. The DHA had asked to include a larger version, Wittenstein said.

“It is their property and they are entitled to tell us what they can and can’t do with it, but I got to tell you I was unbelievably disappointed,” Wittenstein said.

DHA board member Stacey Harris said she and Wittenstein had received an email last year in which the trust board members denied the request outright.

Light Up Dunwoody in 2014
Light Up Dunwoody in 2014

6 replies on “Dunwoody organizations debate menorah at Light Up Dunwoody”

  1. So what does the Dunwoody Preservation Trust do with all the proceeds from Lemonade Days and Apple Cider days? Seems like a lot of unaccounted for cash.

  2. The City of Dunwoody’s seal is the Spruill Farmhouse. This is the Farmhouse in the center of the village and is owned and operated by the Dunwoody Preservation Trust. The city has a partnership with the Dunwoody Preservation Trust for them to be custodians of the repairs for the Donald Banister house which sits in a city park at Vermack & Chamblee Dunwoody. In addition the city has waved fees for all special event permits that the DPT puts on.

    The Dunwoody Homeowners Association which puts on Food Truck Thursdays, the July 4th Parade and Light Up Dunwoody was offered a Menorah by Rabbi Brian Glusman to include in the festivities of Light Up Dunwoody. It turns out that the DPT board voted it down last year. The DHA met again with the DPT in hopes of a change of heart. The DPT is now planning on meeting with its board to vote on it again. I am not to sure this ever needed to be voted on in the first place. This is a true sign of poor leadership and the current presidents must step down in order to save the DPT from losing the privileges it has earned with the city. The city can not align itself with nonprofits that are going to harm our city but that damage might have already been done.

  3. “Lauderdale said the trust’s board considers the event to be a secular one, not a religious one. “We’ve never tried to make this into a religious event,” Lauderdale said.”

    Sorry…There is nothing secular about a Christmas tree or Santa Claus!

    We’ve been Dunwoody residents since 1997, and my daughter has been fighting the battle since 1991. The Atlanta metro area now is ranked 9th largest Jewish population in the nation, right behind the DC area.

    The filming industry is approximately half Jewish, and if Dunwoody wants to keep getting the funds associated with things being filmed here, Ms. Lauderdale and Ms. Williams might want to reconsider their views.

    Thank you Mr. Wittenstein for everything you do to try and balance things out!

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