Huffpost Religion

Hanukkah 2012: National Menorah Lighting Near White House Features US Navy Band

Posted: Updated:
NATIONAL MENORAH
Rabbi Levi Shemtov, left, Office of Management and Acting Budget Director Jeffrey Zients, and Rabbi Abraham Shemtov light the National Hanukkah Menorah, during an event sponsored by the American Friends of Lubavitch, on The Ellipse in Washington marking the second night of Hanukkah, in Washington, on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. The eight-day Jewish holiday began at sundown Saturday, Dec. 8. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) | AP

(Reuters) - The National Menorah was lit near the White House on Sunday for Hanukkah, in a celebration that features the U.S. Navy Band and is one of the most high-profile events in the country to mark the Jewish holiday.

The eight-day Hanukkah celebration, also known as the Festival of Lights, starts at sundown on Saturday.

The lighting of the National Menorah in Washington, on the Ellipse near the White House, dates back to 1979 when then-President Jimmy Carter participated in the ceremony at nearby Lafayette Park.

The event is organized by the Chabad-Lubavitch movement of Hasidic Judaism, and will include a performance by the U.S. Navy Band and servings of hot potato pancakes, or latkes, and doughnuts.

The lighting of the National Menorah will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

President Barack Obama said on Friday in a statement that Hanukkah was "a time to celebrate the faith and customs of the Jewish people" but also "an opportunity for people of all faiths to recognize the common aspirations we share."

Obama and his family presided over the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on Thursday near the White House.

Jewish communities across the United States are set to celebrate Hanukkah with a variety of public events.

In New York, the third night of the Festival of Lights will be the occasion for a unique party, in the form of a Hanukkah on Ice event on Monday at Trump Wollman Rink in Central Park, where participants will strap on their skates, eat free kosher food and listen to Jewish music.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will participate in the lighting of a 15-foot menorah at an entertainment district in the city on Sunday evening.

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the 2nd century BC victory of Judah Maccabee and his followers in a guerrilla revolt in ancient Judea against armies of the Seleucid Empire.

The Menorah is a key part of the festival, because according to Jewish tradition, the Maccabees found only enough ritually pure oil to light a ceremonial lamp in the temple in Jerusalem for one day, but the oil burned for eight days.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg McCune and Peter Cooney)

Also on The Huffington Post

Close
Hanukkah 2012
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

National Hanukkah Menorah 2012 in Washington, DC

National Menorah Lighting at the White House

Rabbi lights the way for the National Menorah event at Hanukkah ...

National Menorah set to be lit in Washington for Hanukkah | Reuters

National Menorah Lighting - Sunday, December 09, 2012 4:00 PM ...

Menorah (Hanukkah) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National Menorah set to be lit in Washington for Hanukkah

Acting director of the Office of Management and Budget to light National ...

Chanukah Guide for the Perplexed 2012

Tis the season at the Fatima Shrine