(JTA) — Chabad may not be able to erect a menorah as it does traditionally in one California town after the municipality introduced a new requirement.
The city of Santa Cruz on Dec. 3 informed Rabbi Yochanan Friedman of Chabad by the Sea in Santa Cruz that the organization would be required this year to hire a private, round-the-clock security guard in order to receive a permit to erect its 15-foot-tall gold menorah, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
The organization has been lighting a menorah in downtown Santa Cruz since 2006.
City Hall staffers told the newspaper that they had been issuing the wrong permit to the organization for the past three years. Under the appropriate permit, the organization must provide 24-hour private security during the eight days of Chanukah, which would cost $5,000 — money the organization does not have, Friedman told the newspaper.
Local atheists have been lobbying City Hall since the end of last Chanukah not to allow the menorah to be lit on public property, the Mercury News reported.