Biden to host Hanukkah ceremony at the White House

December 11, 2023

President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are set to host a White House reception Monday evening to celebrate Hanukkah.

The Jewish Festival of Lights celebration this year comes amid rising tensions across the country in the wake of the now-two-month-old Israel-Hamas war. 

In May, the Biden Administration released a national strategy to combat antisemitism, detailing more than 100 actions, including a series of steps to raise awareness and understanding of antisemitism and the threat it poses across the country. The Administration followed it up in November with a national anti-Islamophobia strategy.

Those who celebrate Hanukkah light one candle each night on a menorah during the eight-day Jewish festival, which is being celebrated this year from December 7 until Friday.

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff—the first Jewish person to be the spouse of one of the United States’ nationally elected leaders—was planning to attend Monday night’s Hanukkah celebration at the White House.

On the first night of holiday this year Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Harris, presided over the lighting ceremony of the menorah in front of the White House, saying that American Jews were “feeling alone” and “in pain” amid the divisions over the Israel-Hamas war. 

The White House reception will be led Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, Senior Rabbi at Central Synagogue in New York City. Emhoff will undertake the menorah lighting along with White House staff members who are descendants of Holocaust survivors.

PHOTO: National Menorah, Washington DC 2014

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