Today marks the first day of Hanukkah, a holiday that is observed for eight nights by people around the world. The holiday, commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in the second century BC, after the people of Israel, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated occupying forces in the face of overwhelming odds. As told in Jewish homes around the world, as the people attempted to restore their temple, which had been destroyed in the war, they discovered that there was only enough oil to light the lamp that held the eternal flame for one day. However, as relayed by generations, a miracle occurred, and the small amount of oil lasted for eight days. To commemorate this event, the rabbis instituted the festival of Hanukkah, a joyous eight-day celebration of freedom, hope, and the power of faith.
Today, the Hanukkah celebration revolves around the lighting of candles on a menorah each evening over the course of eight nights. Families recite blessings during this ritual and display the menorah prominently in a window as a reminder to others of the miracle that inspired the holiday.
At this year’s White House Hanukkah celebration, President Trump said, “On behalf of all Americans, I also want to say how grateful I am for Jewish congregations throughout our country. You cherish your families, support your communities, and uplift our beloved country."
Happy Hanukkah! pic.twitter.com/KPIlNgiA5q— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 12, 2017
"Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families around the world to celebrate the miracles of the past and promises of the future. We are proud to stand with the people of Israel and to renew our enduring bond,” he said.
The President concluded, “Today, our nation is stronger, and our world is more full of promise -- because of the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the faith that burns so brightly in your hearts....May you all have a truly blessed and happy Hanukkah.”
As you gather with your family and friends to celebrate Hanukkah, may the glow from the flame of your menorah share the miracles of the past and the promises of the future. Chag Sameach!
The President and First Lady wish all of those celebrating Hanukkah around the world a happy and healthy eight nights in the company of those they love. More: https://t.co/zvt7KDBgXw pic.twitter.com/uVC5JeerK5— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 12, 2017
Editor's Note: This entry is also published in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.com.
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