Outrage as Jewish writer in NJ calls Christmas lights ‘grotesque’
🎄 Jackson magazine piece resents "grotesque" Christmas lights
🎄 Shore News Network said the piece calls for a ban on holiday lights
🎄 Conservative outlet demands apology
JACKSON — A township woman's complaints about her non-Jewish neighbors' "gaudy" and "grotesque" Christmas decorations are stirring up controversy in Ocean County.
Written by Jackson resident Bayla Brooks, the column published in the Dec. 7, 2023 edition of the Jackson Pulse details her first Christmas in her new neighborhood six years ago. Brooks wrote that she was bothered that, at the time, her neighbors were mostly non-Jewish and celebrated Christmas.
The Shore News Network picked up on the piece and published a response last week, bringing the Pulse's writing to a wider audience and stirring up an outraged response.
"Grotesque" Christmas lights
Brooks, who had just bought a new home with her husband, describes her disappointment with discovering that she had so many non-Jewish neighbors as they drove around the neighborhood and looked at the "gaudy decorations."
She instantly regretted her family's decision to move once she saw the lights, which she said were "thoroughly wrong."
"Oh. Is this what Chanakauh was destined to look like in our new neighborhood?" she wrote.
Brooks goes on to celebrate that her non-Jewish neighbors eventually moved away and Jewish families moved in, creating the "frum" neighborhood that she had wanted.
"The streets were beautiful," Brooks said about the new menorahs that lined her neighborhood.
Ban on Christmas lights?
The Shore News Network posted on Facebook that the Jackson Pulse was calling for a ban on Christmas lights in the township, though the Pulse's piece never demanded a ban.
"It feels like a certain Lakewood media site is trying to sow dissent between Jews and non Jews, many who have come together and closer over the years," SNN said in another post the same morning.
That spurred some commenters to promise that they would put up even more decorations and lights next Christmas.
"Oh in that case im going to make sure you can see mine from outter space," said one man.
"And just like that. Jackson is gonna blow the grid December 1st," another man said.
Shore News Network demands apology
At the end of Shore News Network's piece, the writer demands a "heartfelt apology" and calls for its readers to contact the Lakewood News Network. It provides a link to the publication's website so each reader can give the local publication their thoughts.
While LNN and the Jackson Pulse share a corporate parent company — the Voice of Lakewood — the publications are separate entities. An LNN staff member who declined to give his name said the Shore News Network should have directed readers to contact the Pulse.
Regardless, no one had taken up SNN on the offer as of Wednesday afternoon. LNN said they hadn't received any feedback from the public, good or bad.
And no one at Shore News Network contacted LNN or the Jackson Pulse for an apology, according to LNN. The SNN piece said it had reached out but never received a response.
New Jersey 101.5 sent an email to SNN for comment early Wednesday afternoon.
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