Donald Trump Sends Out Invites to White House Hanukkah Partyby JTA News November 14, 2017
President Donald Trump will continue the White House tradition of hosting a Hanukkah party.
Invitations have been sent out for the Dec. 7 event, Maggie Haberman, The New York Times White House reporter, wrote Monday on Twitter. Hanukkah starts this year on the evening of Dec. 12.
George W. Bush started the tradition of an annual Hanukkah party in 2001, the first year of his presidency. Barack Obama, his successor, continued the parties and often hosted two receptions to accommodate demand.
Invitees typically include the heads of American Jewish organizations, Jewish members of the administration and Congress, and other prominent American Jews.
Starting in 1979 with a lighting by Jimmy Carter, presidents have also participated in a ceremonial lighting of the National Menorah erected near the White House by Chabad, a haredi Orthodox Hasidic movement.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are Orthodox Jews, as well as top White House aides. While many Jews and non-Jews have criticized the president for not sufficiently repudiating anti-Semitism, including among his white nationalist and neo-Nazi supporters, Trump has also visited Israel as president and has a strong admirer in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
At the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., last month, Trump said people had stopped using the word “Christmas” due to political correctness.
“We’re saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” he said, earning a standing ovation from the crowd.
Hanukkah, an eight-day holiday, will end several days before Christmas.