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Jewish Community Upset By Menorah Display In Medford: 'A Total Slap In The Face'

MEDFORD (CBS) – Medford's mayor has apologized for a public Hanukkah menorah display that many in the Jewish community view as antisemitic.

"It just felt like a total slap in the face," said resident Sarah Beardslee. She is outraged by a menorah display at Medford City Hall.

A photo, that has since been deleted from the city's Facebook page, shows what made the Jewish community so upset.

"The Menorah was, first off, backwards, facing backwards," said Beardslee.

It didn't stop there. A framed photo explaining the candles' symbolism had Christian references.

"It had very antisemitic tropes in the sense of it was trying to make Hanukkah into a Christian holiday. It had references to the cross, to Jesus and sins of Israel," said former Temple Shalom President David Sayres.

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A display in Medford has many in the Jewish community upset. (WBZ-TV)

Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn said the image was used in error at last week's Holiday Extravaganza.

The city's apology was posted on Twitter that read in part: "We are writing to publicly apologize for the harm done to our Jewish neighbors and the community at large through an offensive image used in error at this week's Holiday Extravaganza... We used an image in the public display that both misrepresented the Jewish Hanukkah menorah and that we learned is attributed to Christian symbolism. We sincerely regret the harm and are committed to learn from this mistake."

Beardslee was brought to tears telling WBZ-TV that this wasn't just a mistake.

"Anger and thinking about my parents, they were both Holocaust survivors," said Beardslee.

Instead of an apology on social media, Sayres would like to see action.

"I'd really like to see more of an effort to reach out to us about this and to understand why it was so offensive," Sayres said.

Mayor Lungo-Koehn's post went on to say the city will consult with faith and community leaders to make sure they're appropriate and accurately represented.

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