President Obama Welcomes Brooklyn Jewish Community Activists At WH Chanukah Reception

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20131205-185638.jpgIn what started as a tradition by former President George W. Bush, hosting special guests, influential community leaders, Rabbis and other selective dignitaries to celebrate the holiday of Chanukah, had become a unique opportunity for leaders of all communities to celebrate the last day of Chanukah at a get-together in the White House at the invitation of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle.

This year’s White House Chanukah celebration was, for the first time, divided into two receptions, one after the other, yet identical, to accommodate the high demand for attendance.

The White House kitchen was koshered Tuesday night in an operation supervised by Rabbi Levi Shemtov of American Friends of Lubavitch and the Chabad Shliach in the capital.

At the first event of the day, Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle greeted the many Jewish supporters and community leaders who gathered from nationwide locations, expressing his gratitude for the continued support of the Jewish community throughout his presidency and most importantly lauding the strong bond between the Jewish people and the United States.

The White House used a special menorah, designed by a Holocaust survivor, in which each candle holder was a small replica of the Statue of Liberty. The Menorah was lit by the wife and daughters of a US soldier deployed in Afghanistan. Standing by, President Obama lifted one of the girls to light the candle.

Among the invitees were dignitaries and elected officials including DNC chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Congressman Henry Waxman and Brooklyn congressman Jerry Nadler.

Following the President’s historic visit to Brooklyn last month, the Obama family also extended their invitation to noted leaders from Brooklyn’s Jewish community, including Chaskel Bennett, Shlomo Werdiger and Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel from Agudath Israel; Simcha Eichenstein, aide to NYS Comptroller Tom Dinapoli; Meyer Wertheimer and Yoel Bernath from HaMaspik; Yanky Daskal, coordinator of Borough Park Shomrim; Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Community Council; Yaacov Behrman of the Jewish Future Alliance and noted community leader and long time Obama supporter, Rabbi Abe Friedman from Williamsburg.

“I was deeply humbled by the invitation and was honored to have the privilege of enjoying this historic event at the White House,” Rabbi Friedman told YWN. “I am extremely grateful that we have a receptive ear in the Oval Office as President Obama continues to pay close attention to the needs of the Jewish community.”

(Jacob Kornbluh reporting live from Washington DC – YWN)


5 COMMENTS

  1. “I was deeply humbled by the invitation and was honored to have the privilege of enjoying this historic event at the White House,” Rabbi Friedman told YWN. “I am extremely grateful that we have a receptive ear in the Oval Office as President Obama continues to pay close attention to the needs of the Jewish community.”

    Really? Like what? Pardoning SMR? Pollard? Keeping sanctions against Iran? Allowing families in Israel to add a porch to their home to accommodate their growing families? Defense of marriage act? Using tax money to fund late term abortions? What are you talking about?

  2. Perhaps the most tragic chillum hashem in recent memories.at a time when millions of lives hang in the balance due to Obamas Iran debacle and Obamacare one would think that from people would realize the value of ostracizing the president and not being mechanef so at least the democrats in congress would have the incentive to oppose the president.I am especially appaled at the aguda affiliated attendees who should know better.

  3. I couldn’t agree more with the previous 2 comments. What are Bennet, Werdyger, Zweibel and the other hiymisha yeeden doing there? Is getting your picture taken with Obama or the attempt to suck out a few more dollars for yeshivas worth chanfening this president who has done but caused tzoris for yiden in eretz yisrael? where is your sense of obligation to the klal?! Agudah, stick to doing what you’re good at — making a daf yomi siyum every 7.5 years — and quit rubbing shoulders and reinforcing this president who would and is risking the life of every yid in eretz yisrael.