Controversial menorah rewired — gets snipped again

Fear-inducing menorah goes dark
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The precariously rigged Chanukah display that went dark four nights ago after someone snipped an extension cord hanging over pedestrians heads was shining brightly on Friday — with another questionable set up — just before someone snipped the cord again, confused residents said.

“It’s just so ridiculous at this point — it’s like a Tom and Jerry cartoon,” said Windsor Terrace resident Scott Teplin, who felt the menorah’s extension cord, which wove through a chain-link fence before being stretched over a sidewalk so it can be plugged into a nearby streetlight was an electrical accident waiting to happen.

A day after Teplin — who feared for his 7-year-old daughter’s safety as she walked passed the menorah on her way to school — addressed his concerns about the menorah display on a neighborhood listserv, someone cut the extension cord.

But power was running to the Kensington chabad’s light display once again on Friday, with an even more elaborate set up: this time the extension cord extended down the length of the chain-link fence to the end of the bridge, then ran along another fence, through a tree, and across a city street before snaking into somebody’s home through a mailbox.

Teplin wasn’t surprised that someone cut the extension cord before the day was out.

“Into a mailbox? If a truck had gone down that street, the extension cord would have broken,” said Teplin. “But there were no exposed wires at kid-height so I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.”

Unless the Kensington Chabad’s electrician re-wires the display — for a third time — the menorah will remain dark for the remainder of Chanukah, which ends Sunday evening, residents say.

The Kensington Chabad didn’t answer repeated calls, emails, as well as a visit to the synagogue by this paper, about who cut the extension cord, but the house of worship’s electrician told Teplin that the city snuffed out the light display on Tuesday.

Synagogue leaders told this paper that the menorah display has been on the Caton Avenue bridge for a decade — with the city’s blessing. Repeated requests to the Department of Transportation to confirm the synagogue’s claims were not returned.

Still, members of the neighborhood listserv were excited that the menorah display was back on — at least temporarily.

“Mazel tov!” one listserv writer noted.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. Follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.