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.