White House Hosts Annual Chanukah Party Thursday Night – No Congressional Democrats Invited [VIDEOS & PHOTOS]

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(VIDEOS & PHOTOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE)

Chanukah 5778-2017 has arrived at the White House — 5 days early.

President Donald Trump hosted his first White House Chanukah reception on Thursday evening, an annual tradition.

The party had Glatt Kosher food and wine, and a Menorah lighting ceremony. Trump’s Jewish grandchildren, Ivanka and Jared Kushner’s children Arabella, 6, and Joseph, 4, lit the Menorah, with Jared helping them make the “Shecheyanu”.

The White House Chanukah party has been Glatt Kosher since President George W. Bush made a party in 2005, but there were notable changes this year.

First off, there was only one party held, unlike his predecessor Barack Obama who often had to host two parties each year due to an overflow crowd. Officials slashed the size of the reception, inviting around 300 guests to one soiree instead of hosting 1,700 over two parties as in the past.

Perhaps there was more room there year as multiple reports state that President Trump did not invite Democratic lawmakers.

According to the NY Times, President Trump also did not invite Reform Jewish leaders who have been critical of him, or progressive Jewish activists who have differed with him publicly on policy issues.

Two Jewish Republican members of Congress, Reps. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.) and David Kustoff (Tenn.), were attending the party, their offices confirmed to the Times.

Ezra Friedlander, a public policy consultant, told the NY Times that Mr. Trump would be “cheered like a rock star” at the party in light of his speech declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

Trump began his speech to attendees by noting this years party “will go down as especially special” after his Jerusalem speech, and that he was thinking about “what’s going on” in Jerusalem.

“Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families around the world to celebrate the miracles of the past and the promises of the future,” Trump said. “We are proud to stand with the people of Israel and renew our enduring bond.”

“And right now I’m thinking about what’s going on and the love that’s all over Israel and all about Jerusalem,” he added.

Vice President Pence and his wife joined the Trumps and other administration officials in attendance, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was also in attendance.

Trump introduced two speakers: Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and Holocaust survivor Louise Lawrence-Israels. Guests heard from the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy Lower School Girls Choir from Rockville.

Trump noted the history of two “very special” Menorahs used at the ceremony, one was used by the first American Jewish congregation, and the second came from the Tarnow Ghetto in Southern Poland.

“May you all have a truly blessed and happy Hanukkah,” Trump said.

It’s interesting to note, that in 2011 Donald Trump fired off a tweet at then president Obama. Trump wrote “Why was the Hanukah celebration held in the White House two weeks early? @BarackObama wants to vacation in Hawaii in late December. Sad.”

Congressional Jewish Democrats blasted Trump for turning the holiday festivities into a “partisan” event.

“It’s deeply unfortunate that the White House Hanukkah Party – a bipartisan event bringing together Jewish and non-Jewish leaders alike to celebrate the Festival of Lights since 2001 – has turned into a partisan affair under this administration,” Rep. Nita Lowrey (D-N.Y.) told the Times in a statement.

The White House denied that the guest list was shortened for political reasons in a statement.

“I am not aware of the political affiliation of any of the guests, but I do know that this year was meant to be more personal than political,” first lady Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told the Times.

(Chaim Shapiro – YWN)


9 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Friedlander will take any public recognition of himself, including from President Trump even though he was loudly denouncing The Donald not too many months ago, before the election.

  2. At least it wasn’t two weeks early. (That wasn’t a big deal to me then either.)

    The question is if any of the Shomer Torah u’Mitzvos in the White House will tzind Chanukah lecht in the White House next week.

  3. The degenerate draft dodging moron keeps saying how he will bring the country together. Not inviting people with a different viewpoint isn’t going to accomplish that.

  4. wow way to go Rabbi Soloveitchik, its great to see a real Rabbi handling this event and not saying a bracha levatala. Also happy that reform “rabbis” and “rabbits” were against trump and werent invited. Noone wants to hear their chilul Hashem or even see them. So glad. Also what a kiddush Litvish!

  5. Schumer & Pelosi snubbed President Trump refusing to some to the White House some 2 weeks ago when they were invited to a meeting, so it serves them & their cronies right not to be invited to the White House this time.

  6. Rabbi Soloveichik spoke very nicely and articulately. He didn’t need to read from a script.
    Interesting that he didn’t use shem vimalchus when reciting the bracha of shechiyanu.

  7. Lol first comment on col. “Rabbi Soloveitchik went to lubavitch cheder in Chicago”.
    What a shame, it always has to be about chabad even when it’s not.
    I guess he must be lubavitch now?