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White House Kicks Off Hanukkah Celebrations Early

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White House HanukkahPresident Barack Obama hosted the Hanukkah reception on December 8, 2011, eleven days before its onset. In an apparent bid to soothe the frayed nerves over the recent comments against Israel, the President welcomed 500 guests, including Jewish leaders, into their official home while kicking off Hanukkah celebrations early.


President’s Message


In his humble message on the occasion, the President said, “Hanukkah is an opportunity to recognize the miracles in our own lives.”


Who Was There?


Apart from the Obamas and the Jewish leaders, those who joined the First family in Hanukkah celebrations include Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Ambassador to Israel Michael Oren, and the West Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir.


What Did They Eat?


The guests, packed into the White House Grand Foyer, gorged upon Scottish smoked salmon and fresh sushi rolls. The food was prepared in the supervision of Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Director of American Friends of Lubavitch, and it met the highest standards of Kashrut. While talking about his preparations for the Hanukkah dinner, Rabbi Shemtov said, “The White House works diligently to ensure that we don't have to compromise on any standard of kashrut. And we work as diligently to ensure that the White House does not have to compromise any of the standards of presentation.”


Kosher Food Was A Hit


Going by the dinner scene, it seems that the kosher food, prepared for the occasion, was a hit with the guests. The White House Hanukkah menu was made up of the following food items:

  • Dill and Vodka Scottish Smoked Salmon
  • Non-Pareil Capers
  • Chopped Egg Whites
  • Chopped Egg Yolks
  • Assorted Fresh Sushi Rolls
  • Roulade of Chicken Breast
  • Arugula and Fresh Artichokes
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Fresh Thyme Sauce
  • Filet of Beef
  • Caramelized Pearl Onions
  • Shitake Mushrooms
  • Au Jus
  • Pine Nut Herb Crusted Lamb Chops
  • Mango and Mission Fig Chutney
  • Homemade Potato with Scallion Pancakes
  • Apple Sauce
  • Winter Squash Salad

The desserts included Homemade Soufganyot, Crème Anglaise, and Raspberry Jelly.


In all, the White House Hanukkah dinner was a success but whether it did anything to undo the damage caused by a few anti-Israel comments in the recent past is something, which even President Obama would not be sure of. Nevertheless, have a look at a video of the Hanukkah celebrations at White House:

Video & Image Courtesy:

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White House Kicks Off Hanukkah Celebrations Early