President Barack Obama released a statement offering his “warmest wishes” to all celebrating Chanukah: “Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all who are celebrating Hanukkah around the world,” Obama said in a statement. “The Hanukkah story of the Maccabees and the miracles they witnessed reminds us that faith and perseverance are powerful forces that can sustain us in difficult times and help us overcome even the greatest odds.”
In America, Jews celebrating the holiday often exchange gifts, a tradition inspired by Christmas gift giving. Obama, however, focused on the deeper meaning of the holiday.
“Hanukkah is not only a time to celebrate the faith and customs of the Jewish people, but for people of all faiths to celebrate the common aspirations we share,” he said. “As families, friends and neighbors gather together to kindle the lights, may Hanukkah’s lessons inspire us all to give thanks for the blessings we enjoy, to find light in times of darkness, and to work together for a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow.”