Wednesday December 9, President Obama hosted
the annual White House Chanukah Party, an event for which tickets are
highly sought after. It is one of the few non-partisan event left in
Upon arrival, guests were
serenaded by the Maccabeats, Yeshiva University's A Cappella group, as
well as Jewish superstar, Lipa Schmeltzer.
President Reuven Rivlin, a guest of honor at this year's Chanukah
party, led the candle lighting ceremony. He reminded partygoers of the
Maccabees' struggle "for liberty, for freedom of religion, for our
traditions, for their ability to celebrate their own identity." Whilst
addressing his guests, President Obama expressed the inspirational
messages of the Chanukah story: the weak prevailing against the strong,
freedom over tyranny and light over darkness.
The prestigious guest list included U.S.
Ambassador Dan Shapiro, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, Rabbi Abraham
Shemtov, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, President of Israel Reuven Rivlin, Israeli
Ambassador Ron Dermer, Abe Foxman, Malcolm Hoenlein, John Ruskay, former
Congressman Henry Waxman, Sol Werdiger, Joseph Stamm, Ezra
Friedlander, Rabbi David Zwiebel, Abba Cohen, White House Chief of Staff
Denis McDonough as well as Alan and Judy Gross. It was at
last year's Chanukah party that President Obama announced Alan Gross'
release by the Cuban government.
"It was an
honor to be able to attend the White House Chanukah party this year,"
said Ezra Friedlander CEO, The Friedlander Group, "what a privilege it
is to not only live in a country that allows people the liberty of
openly practicing their religion but celebrates their traditions
alongside them. Having a Chanukah reception at the White House is a
reminder to American Jewry that embracing our religion is in sync with
being a good American."