An Open Letter to the Mayor and Council of Tenafly NJ

December 27, 2013

Dear Mayor Rustin and Council,

I don’t usually write letters like this.  But when I discovered this story from WPIX today, I felt compelled to write.

I am a former resident of Tenafly.  I lived about five blocks away from this Joyce Road home.  I walked by this street every day on the way to or from the Middle and High Schools.  My father was the principal of TMS for a number of years, and I am a 1986 graduate of THS.

The Tenafly shown by Mayor Rustin’s actions is not the Tenafly that I remember.

When I lived there, the town was made up of a mix of Christian and Jewish residents, with some other religions represented.  For the most part we coexisted peacefully.  We went to each others’ Confirmation and Bar/Bat Mitzvah services.  We shared each others’ Hanukkah and Christmas toys.  While I was there, the high school performed both Brigadoon (loosely based on Christianity) and The Diary of Anne Frank.  I remember seeing Christmas decorations and a large menorah at Huyler Park.

I fail to see what is so offensive about candles in paper bags.  They are not overtly religious.  They do not directly pertain to any holiday.  They are simply pretty.  They were clearly not intended to offend, or even to send a religious message.

The “War on Christmas” idea is very much overblown in the media.  There is no war on Christmas in this country, where any religious holiday may be freely celebrated without fear of persecution or imprisonment.  But your actions fuel those who believe that there is such a war.  Your actions increase the divisions between religions in this country.

I urge you to apologize to the Alvator family, and to modify the relevant ordinance to allow for holiday displays.  I hope that you will work together to help create tolerance in a town divided.

Mark Smith


Happy New Year – a roundup

December 31, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life 

Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last week or two:

12/17 – day off from work, didn’t do much
12/18 – work
12/19 – work, office Christmas lunch
12/20 – work, delayed by brake failure on the way to work, left early
12/21 – work, got my car back, watched the Trenton Devils win
12/22 – Smith family Christmas celebration (see below)
12/23 – church in the morning, youth group Christmas party in the evening
12/24 – off from work, Presbyterian Christmas service in the evening
12/25 – Catholic Christmas service followed by Brennan family celebration
12/26 – off from work, price new tires
12/27 – off from work, watch Trenton Devils win
12/28 – off from work, watch Trenton Devils lose in shootout
12/29 – home, work on CDs for friends
12/30 – church, then work on CDs for friends
12/31 – work until 3pm, watch Trenton Devils, home for midnight
1/1 – off from work.  Sleep.

Does it seem like I didn’t do much?  You’re right.  I didn’t.  This was sabbath/rest time.

Happy New Year!  See you in 2008!

Family – putting the fun in dysfunctional

December 24, 2007 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Life 

Saturday was the Smith family Christmas get-together.  We had to hold it early due to my brother’s police employment (he has to work Christmas).

Mom and Dad went to China last summer.  They gave each of us a Beijing olympics 2008 t-shirt.  Translation of sizes was difficult, so they guessed.

I opened mine:

Me:  Thanks.  It looks nice, but it looks like it won’t fit.

Mom:  That’s OK – you can lose weight until you fit into it.

Yep.  She actually said that.