White House Kashers Its Kitchen for Obama Chanukah Party – Mashgiach Temidi, Pas Yisroel

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white-house-chanukahThe Obama White House throws its first Chanukah party tonight, and the White House kitchen has been kashered in order to serve kosher food at the reception President Obama and First Lady Michelle are hosting.

Obama’s first Chanukah celebration as president has not been without some controversy. Stories have appeared in the mainstream and Jewish press saying that the White House is shortchanging Jewish supporters – who figured heavily in Obama’s fundraising and political success – by being stingy with the invitations. But Politics Daily has learned that the number of invitees for tonight’s event is more than were invited in all but one of the previous years the party has been thrown, starting in 2001.

The White House said 550 guests are invited this year. During the Bush years, there were 265 invitees in 2001; 373 in 2002; 500 in 2003; 387 in 2004; 427 in 2005; 477 in 2006; 584 in 2007; and 520 in 2008.

There have been a few reports that the Obama White House cut back its list from 800 guests; that’s just a bubbe meise.

For the Chanukah gathering, the White House has ordered food from a kosher catering company. Rabbi Levi Shemtov from the Lubavitch Center in Washington is supervising the kashering effort, as he did during the Bush years when the same process took place.

This from a White House source: “The White House silver and other serving items will be dipped into a specially prepared pot of boiling water, the stovetops and ovens will be raised to a very high temperature and the countertops will be cleaned and covered before the food is prepared for serving at the reception.”

Rabbi Shemtov is koshering the White House kitchen in cooperation with the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington:

All meats are Glatt Kosher.

All baked goods are Pas Yisroel,

All wines are Mevushal.

All foods have been prepared lemehadrin with a mashgiach temidi.

A candle-lighting will take place, using a menorah from the Jewish Museum in Prague. The children of a soldier deployed overseas – a boy, 5 and a girl, 6 – will light the menorah. Kol Sasson, an a cappella group from the University of Maryland, will perform.

{Lynn Sweet-Politics Daily/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. why not Achesverosh also served kosher food, so now we should all rejoice that its kosher, and sit with all the goyim , i tought Chanukah was a yom tov to spend with family , maybe i am missing something and perhaps soon we are going to invite all the Goyim to our Pesach Seder & why not everything is kosher so we should sit with Goyim together & celebrate.

  2. Unlike the comment above, Rabbi Naftali Neuberger was moved to tears when he was invited to the White House for such a gathering. As a refugee from Hitkerls Germany, he felt that this is a wonderful thing, that Jews are so respected at the highest levels of government. It is sad that there are people whose political ideas make them deaf and blind to this medina shel chesed.

  3. let’s remind everyone that most of the guest ate treif a few years ago by the chanuka party, because the kosher sign was near the wrong table.

  4. Some should let achaehvarosh.. Obama know that this is chanukah and not Purim. Someone should let the people know that those going to Achaehvarosh’s party…Obama’s party were all religious Jews. At Achaehvarosh…obama’s party all the food was kosher le’manadrin. And wine was given out at the party…


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