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Pittsburgh lights menorah

Pittsburgh sponsored the public lighting of a Chanukah menorah that once prompted a landmark Supreme Court ruling.

In 1986, Chabad-Lubavitch of Pittsburgh, Penn., erected its annual menorah display in front of City Hall. The American Civil Liberties Union sued, claiming the proximity of the candles to City Hall violated the First Amendment separation of church and state.

The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in 1989 that the Chanukah display did not constitute government endorsement of religion. Every year since then, the Chanukah menorah has gone up in front of Pittsburgh’s City Hall, but it never has been lit.

This year, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl invited Chabad to light the candles. According to a report in Chabad.org, more than 200 people showed up Tuesday for the festivities.

“To have the same city that once fought our menorah now choose to recognize it really brings the story full circle,” Rabbi Sruli Altein, Chabad of Pittsburgh’s outreach director, told reporters.

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