“I want to say how much Michelle and I appreciate the opportunities to have celebrated so many Hanukkahs with you in the White House,” President Barack Obama concluded his final Hanukkah party at the White House, and wisecracked: “You know, at the beginning of my presidency, some critics thought it would last for only a year. But – miracle of miracles –it has lasted eight years. It’s lasted eight whole years. Nes Gadol Haya Po.”
“Today in the White House, as you will soon do in your homes, we recall Hanukkah’s many lessons: how a small group can make a big difference. That’s the story of the Maccabees’ unlikely military victory, and of great moral movements around the globe and across time. How a little bit can go a long way, like the small measure of oil that outlasted every expectation. It reminds us that even when our resources seem limited, our faith can help us make the most of what little we have. The small State of Israel and the relatively small Jewish population of this country have punched far above their weight in their contributions to the world. So the Festival of Lights is also a reminder of how Isaiah saw the Jewish people, as a light unto the nations.
“This is the season that we appreciate the many miracles, large and small, that have graced our lives throughout generations, and to recognize that the most meaningful among them is our freedom. The first chapter of the Hanukkah story was written 22 centuries ago, when rulers banned religious rituals and persecuted Jews who dared to observe their faith. Which is why today we are asked not only to light the menorah, but to proudly display it – to publicize the mitzvah. And that’s why we’ve invited all these reporters who are here. (Laughter.)
“Everybody in America can understand the spirit of this tradition. Proudly practicing our religion, whatever it might be – and defending the rights of others to do the same – that’s our common creed. That’s what families from coast to coast confirm when they place their menorah in the window – not to share the candles’ glow with just your family, but also with your community and with your neighbors.
“The story of Hanukkah, the story of the Jewish people, the story of perseverance – these are one and the same. Elie Wiesel taught us that lesson probably better than just about anybody. In one of his memories of the Holocaust, Elie watched a fellow prisoner trade his daily ration of bread for some simple materials with which to piece together a makeshift menorah. And he wrote that he couldn’t believe the sacrifices this man was making to observe the holidays. A stunned Elie asked him, ‘Hanukkah in Auschwitz?’ And the man replied, ‘Especially in Auschwitz.'”
President Obama ended his speech with the following eloquent observation: “As many of you know, the name ‘Hanukkah’ comes from the Hebrew word for ‘dedication.’ So we want to thank you again for your dedication to our country, to the historic progress that we’ve made, to the defense of religious freedom in the United States and around the world.”
And now, let’s see what he does or does not do to the Hanukkah folks at the UN Security Council…JNi.Media