April 18, 2024
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White House Celebrates Chanukah

On Thursday, December 6, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania hosted the annual White House Chanukah reception.

Guests were invited to view the public White House holiday decorations and enjoy holiday music from the U.S. Military band, after which they were served a delicious glatt kosher buffet, prepared by the White House Chef, under the hashgacha of Chabad of Washington. The Y-Studs headlined as musical guests.

“Today, I am thrilled to commemorate the miracle of Chanukah,” said President Trump in his welcome. “More than 2,000 years ago, a band of Jewish patriots, led by Judah Maccabee, reclaimed their freedom from an oppressive dictator who had persecuted the Jewish people and ransacked the Holy Temple. After their victory, they prepared to rededicate the Temple. They found only enough oil to light the lamp for a single night. But, despite this, the lamp burned brightly for eight nights, an everlasting symbol of Jewish perseverance.”

The President also honored eight Holocaust survivors: Sara Censor, Bertha Einhorn, Ethel Flam, Gita Landau, Dolly Rabinowitz, Ruth Salamon, Zahava Ungar and David Einhorn. “You honor us, truly, with your presence, and you inspire us with your courage. Thank you very much for being here. Each of you has endured evil beyond description. Your treasured attendance at this ceremony calls to mind the words of Elie Wiesel: ‘For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.’ Today and every day, we renew our solemn pledge: Never Again.”

Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow Pollack, a high school student murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, spoke. “I think it’s fitting to celebrate Chanukah here in the Trump White House. I see a lot of parallels between what happened in ancient Israel and what is happening now. Ancient Judea’s ruling class had turned their back on what made our people great. They thought the Greeks were on the side of progress and they no longer believed that their nation was founded on revealed truth. The Jewish people would not have survived if the Maccabees had lost.”

Uri Garber, a Y-Stud member originally from New Rochelle, stated, “It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was an honor to be a part of it. I think we did a good job of making a Kiddush Hashem and bringing our contagious energy and uplifting spirits to one of the most remarkable venues in the world.”

By Judy Berger

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