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Jewish Groups File Suit to Display Menorahs

November 16, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

Two Jewish groups filed a federal lawsuit this week to challenge an ordinance that bans anyone but the city from holding events or erecting displays at a downtown Cincinnati plaza during the holiday season.

The lawsuit, which calls the city law unconstitutional, was filed by Chabad of Southern Ohio, which is affiliated with the Lubavitch movement, a Hasidic group that has sought to set up prominent Hanukkah menorahs in many cities. The group wants to put a menorah in the city's Fountain Square.

City officials had said the ordinance, which was passed in April, was intended to encourage economic development by keeping the square uncluttered during the year's busiest retail season.

The ordinance prevents the Ku Klux Klan from erecting a cross in the square, as it did for several years in the 1990s. In 1993, a federal judge granted an injunction blocking city attempts to prevent Klan displays.

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