Hanukkah at the White House 2012

Uploaded by whitehouse on 13.12.2012

The President: Good evening, everybody.
Audience: Good evening.
The President: Well, thank you for coming to the White House tonight
to celebrate the sixth night of Hanukkah.
It is truly an honor to host so many leaders from the Jewish
community this evening.
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is here.
And obviously I know I speak for all of us when we say that
America's support for our friend and ally Israel remains
unshakeable during these difficult times.
Many members of Congress and local government are here,
and we want to welcome you.
We are graced by two Supreme Court Justices,
several members of my Cabinet and administration -- so,
everybody, be on your best behavior.
I want to thank the incredibly talented members of the West
Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir for their service.
They are incredible young people.
Obviously we're in awe of their service to our nation, and for
sharing a couple of Hanukkah favorites with the Marine band.
And finally, I'd like to recognize the rabbis and lay
leaders who traveled from all over the country to be here.
Thank you for sharing the holiday with us.
We're grateful.
So tonight, as we gather to light the sixth candle of
Hanukkah, we remember an enduring story of
resilience and optimism.
Over 2,000 years ago, a tyrant forbade the Israelites from
practicing their religion and his forces desecrated
the Holy Temple.
So Judah Maccabee gathered a small band of believers to fight
this oppression, and against all odds, they prevailed.
And the Maccabees liberated Jerusalem and restored the
faith of its people.
And when they went to reclaim the Temple, the people of
Jerusalem received another gift from God -- the oil that should
have lasted only one night burned for eight.
That miraculous flame brought hope and it
sustained the faithful.
To this day, Jews around the world honor the Maccabees'
everlasting hope that light will overcome the darkness,
that goodness will overcome evil, and that faith can
accomplish miracles.
The menorah that we're using tonight and the man who will
light it are both powerful symbols of that spirit.
Six weeks ago, the Temple Israel Synagogue in Long Beach,
New York, was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
But this 90-year-old menorah survived, and I am willing to
bet it will survive another 90 years, and another 90 years
after that.
So tonight, it shines as a symbol of perseverance,
and as a reminder of those who are still recovering from
Sandy's destruction -- a reminder of resilience and
hope and the fact that we will be there for them as they recover.
So I want to thank Rabbi David Bauman for sharing your
congregation's blessed menorah with us.
We pray that its light will carry victims of Sandy and
all Americans to a brighter tomorrow.
And we're confident that it will.
And we're confident that it will because for centuries the
menorah has served as a source of inspiration and courage for
all those dreaming of a better future, and Rabbi Larry Bazer
knows that as well as anybody.
Now, we had hoped that Rabbi would join us to light the
candles last year, but he wasn't able to make it.
We don't get that very often.
Usually when we invite people, they come.
But we gave him another chance because he had a pretty good
excuse the first time.
Last Hanukkah, Rabbi Bazer -- and he happens to be the
Joint Forces Chaplain for the Massachusetts National Guard --
was four months into his deployment in Afghanistan,
and he lit a custom-built electric menorah in the
central square of Camp Phoenix in Kabul.
As the only rabbi in Afghanistan at the time, he spent every
night of Hanukkah with a different group of soldiers,
reminding them of the Maccabees' perseverance,
and bringing them faith to guide their challenging work.
Even in the face of great danger, the message of
Hanukkah endures.
And it continues to inspire those all over the world who
stand for freedom and opportunity, and we could
not be more grateful to Rabbi Bazer for his extraordinary
service to our country as well as his service
to his congregation.
The Rabbi stands here alongside this menorah both as a symbol of
hope and perseverance and determination and duty.
And it also reminds us that there are sacrifices that are
involved in defending our values.
Obviously we're grateful to the men and women who serve
our nation so nobly and so bravely all around the world.
And our thoughts and prayers in this holiday season especially
go out to those who are away from home during the
holiday season.
But obviously the lessons of Hanukkah also apply to those
of us who should be serving in different ways in our own
communities, in our work places, in our own families as citizens
of this nation; that we have obligations to one another,
that we're stronger together than we are apart,
that we have to think about future generations and not
just the present.
Those are all values that we have to also make sacrifices
to defend.
And so I want to welcome all of you.
I'm honored to be with you.
I see a lot of good friends around the room.
But at this time I'd like to invite Rabbi Bazer to
join me to light the White House menorah.
Rabbi Bazer: This is probably a good Rabbi -- there's always a quick word.
It's not only the sixth night; it's also the sixth year that
the White House has celebrated Hannukkah and in that occasion,
it's customary to say (speaking in Hebrew).
So I'm going to invite everyone to join me in that.
Also special for me because a year ago,
I did it with our service members.
So those who -- please join me.
All: (in Hebrew) Barukh Atah Ado-nai Elo-heinu
melech ha'olam, she-hecheyanu v'ki-yemanu v'higianu
lazeman hazeh.
Rabbi Bazer: Blesséd art thou, O' Lord our God, King of the Universe,
who has kept us alive, sustained us,
and brought us to this season.
All: Amen.
All: (singing in Hebrew) ♪ Barukh Atah Ado-noi ♪
♪ Elo-heinu melech ha'olam, ♪
♪ asher kid'shanu bi-mitzvo-sav, ♪
♪ Vi-tzee-vanu li-had-leek ner ♪
♪ shel Chanukah. ♪
♪ Barukh Atah Ado-noi ♪
♪ Elo-heinu melech ha'olam, ♪
♪ she'asah nisim l'avosenu ♪
♪ bayamim hahem ♪
♪ baz'man hazeh. ♪
♪ Amen. ♪