[Video and photos below.] It has become a tradition for the President of the United States and the First Lady to host the Jewish community for a Chanukah lighting ceremony and reception.
However last night offered a distinct NY flavor as President Obama welcomed many Jewish dignitaries from the NY metropolitan area including Rabbis Zwiebel, Gertzulin, Becker of Agudath Israel, Michael Miller of JCRC, Richard Joel of Yeshiva University, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, Issac Wertzberger of Williamsburg, Herbert Block of the “JOINT”,Chanina Sperlin and Eli Slavin of Crown Heights among others who were all warmly welcomed by Jarrod Bernstein, the White House Director of Jewish Outreach.
It goes without saying that Malcolm Hoenlein and Richard Stone of the Confrence of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Abe Foxman of the ADL, Nathan Diament of the OU, Dr. Alan Kadish of Touro College, Rabbis Hier and Cooper of the Simon Wisenthal Center were in attendance to usher in the 6th night of Chanukah were on hand to celebrate Chanukah with the frum White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew.
The President’s Chanukah Menorah lighting featured a Menorah from the hurricane devastated Long Beach–in fact Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Lew was seen huddled with Far Rockaway Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder who is a tireless advocate for the devastated Far Rockaway area and was seen smiling after their brief huddle, apparently satisfied that he accomplished something tangible for his community.
Perhaps it was a first to see (what is seen ordinarily at weddings and Bar Mitzvah’s) a sign in the White House “grand foyer” reassuring the multitudes of frum guests that all food preparation was prepared under the strict rabbinical supervision of Rabbi Levi Shemtov of the Lubavitch Center of Washington announcing to Supreme Courts Justices, Cabinet members and “simple” Members of Congress that all meats are “Chassidishe Shechitiah and all baked goods are Pas Yisroel, wines as “mevushal with a “mashgiach temidi.
“Attending the White House Chanukah reception is in many ways an affirmation of the how far the American Jewish community have come from the days of the pleading Rabbis on behalf of European Jewry who were refused entry thru its front gates during the dark days of the Holocaust. Having a Glatt Kosher reception is indicative of how far Orthodox Jewry has come–and that is truly a miracle”, said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group who attended the reception at the White House.
Click below for a video:
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See below for photos: