Faith and perseverance were the words that echoed through the halls of the White House last night (Dec. 2, 2010) as the President, Vice President and First Lady celebrated the second night of Hanukkah with about 500 guests from across the country, including several Chicagoans– JCUA’s Jane Ramsey and Rabbi Capers and Rabbinit Miriam Funnye of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken.
“The tiny candles of Hanukkah have reminded us of the importance of faith and perseverance,” said President Obama addressing guests at the celebration. [Read the President’s full remarks at the event]
One symbol of faith and perseverance was the menorah used for the celebration, which was loaned to the White House by Congregation Beth Israel in New Orleans. It was found caked in dirt and mold during the cleanup after Hurricane Katrina, in which the synagogue was covered in eight feet of water.
“[The menorah] stands as a reminder of the tragedy and a source of inspiration for the future,” said President Obama.
Another symbol of faith and perseverance was Susan Retik and her family, who endured the loss of Susan’s husband David in 9/11. After being acknowledged by the President, the Retik Family performed the ritual of lighting the candles and ended with a sax solo of “Rock of Ages.”
Happy Hanukkah from the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, and may this holiday season bring you joy and blessings.
More coverage of Hanukkah at the White House:
Politico– White House hosts Hanukkah party
The Jewish Week– Chanukah at the White House- with 1/3 of the Supreme Court