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 Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?

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PostSubject: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:07 pm

At White House Hanukkah party, Obama emphasizes freedom and food


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Photo by Steve Sheffey/JTA

Hanukkah at the White House

President Obama speaks at the first of two White House Hanukkah parties in Washington on Dec. 17.






Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2014 11:40 am | Updated: 12:06 pm, Thu Dec 18, 2014.
RON KAMPEAS | JTA News & Features | 0 comments




WASHINGTON – I've been JTA's Washington bureau chief for 11 years, but this was the first time I scored a coveted invitation to the annual White House Hanukkah party.



A Washington tradition started by President George W. Bush, the party has actually expanded (to meet demand) to two: one in the afternoon and one in the evening.



This year's mood was particularly festive, given that the parties were on Wednesday, the same day that Alan Gross was released from five years in a Cuban prison.

President Obama, who earned enthusiastic cheers at both parties, is still a smart enough pol to have played that to the hilt.

“I’m told that in the Jewish tradition, one of the great mitzvahs is 'pidyon shvuyim,' " he said to applause at the afternoon party. “My Hebrew is not perfect, but I get points for trying. But it describes the redemption, the freeing, of captives. And that’s what we’re celebrating today, because after being unjustly held in Cuba for more than five years, American Alan Gross is free.

That got laudatory whoops.

Obama also emphasized another Jewish tradition: food.

“I spoke to [Gross] on his flight. He said he was willing to interrupt his corned beef sandwich to talk to me. I told him he had mustard in his mustache; I couldn’t actually see it," the president said.

Then it was back to the theme of freedom, with a deft pivot to his controversial reversal on Dec. 17 of decades of U.S. policy isolating Cuba:

“He’s back where he belongs – in America, with his family, home for Hanukkah,” Obama said. “And I can’t think of a better way to mark this holiday, with its message that freedom is possible, than with the historic changes that I announced today in our Cuba policy.”

And back to food:

“So what brings us together is not just lox and latkes, although I have heard the latkes here are outstanding." (The latkes, like Gross and the president, got applause.) “Am I wrong? Not as good as your mom’s, but they're good. We’re here to celebrate a story that took place more than 2,000 years ago, when a small group of Maccabees rose up to defeat their far more powerful oppressors.”

Partygoers – over 500 for each celebration – were jubilant, and not just because of the season and the good news. The hourlong line through security, winding from outside the adjacent Treasury building, was made pleasant by sunny, unseasonably warm weather.

Invitees enter the East Wing and may tour the rooms decked out in Christmas decorations, which attract the attention of even the most Yuletide averse – who could resist the robotic version of the Obama family pooches, Bo and Sunny? And then there is the massive gingerbread White House – presumably not certified kosher, but who would dare take a bite? (Besides, there was plenty of kosher food to be had, including latkes, tender lamb chops with cranberry sauce and aromatic smoked salmon.)

There was some visual and aural relief from Christmas themes, including Tizmoret, a vocal group from the City University of New York’s Queens College Hillel. The group serenaded the guests as they entered an alcove on the way to the main reception, where the four Hanukkah menorahs were on display – three made by Israeli children.
My fellow guests at the afternoon included numerous journalists and Jewish Democratic cognoscenti, among them Ann Lewis, an adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton; Reva Price, an adviser to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader; and Rabbi Jack Moline, who just ended a stint as director of the National Jewish Democratic Council. Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, executive director of Valley Beit Midrash, also joined the White House celebration.
Also in attendance was Rabbi David Saperstein, finishing up four decades of service with the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center (making him, incidentally, the longest serving faith-based lobbyist in town) now that the Senate confirmed him last week as a special envoy for religious freedom.

I asked Saperstein where he was first headed in his new role.
“Burma,” he said, to discuss the Mohingar.
Turning to my 16-year-old son, my date for the party, I explained: “That’s a Jewish rabbi who is headed to a Buddhist nation to tell them not to persecute its Muslim minority.”

The other message of this year’s Hanukkah season is that, well, everyone is Jewish. We wrote Dec. 16 that Vice President Joe Biden told celebrants at Chabad's annual National Menorah lighting on the Ellipse that “Jewish heritage is American heritage.” The Los Angeles Jewish Journal’s David Suissa captured this gem from the evening White House party:

"Mr President," [a man standing next to Suissa] said in his booming voice, "when I told my Christian friend I was coming to a Hanukkah party at the White House, he told me, 'I didn't know the president was Jewish!'

"The president let out a serious belly laugh. But in all the commotion of people asking other questions and everyone clicking their smartphone cameras, it was easy to lose sight of the president to see if he had anything to say.

"I kept my eyes straight on him. It was clear that the "president was Jewish" idea had intrigued him. After about three or four seconds, as he was walking away, and looking at no one in particular, the president just said, 'I am, in my soul.' " Twisted Evil



Israeli schools figured in the candle lighting at both parties: Hand in Hand, the Arab-Jewish school that was the target of a recent arson attack, was represented by two of its ninth-graders at the first reception, and Yemin Orde, Israel’s school for recent olim, sent a student to light a candle at the second party. Also lighting a candle at the second party was Adam Levine, a professor of emergency medicine at Brown who recently returned from Liberia, where he was treating Ebola patients.
“Now I just want to be clear, this is not Adam Levine, People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive  Rolling Eyes ,” Obama helpfully explained.
Seekers of Hollywood glitter at the second party at least got a glimpse of Gwyneth Paltrow – invited, perhaps, because of her recently announced conversion plans. Laughing


“Oh, she’s from 'Iron Man,' " one youngster present noted, according to his dad, Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union's Washington director.

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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:27 pm

White House of course has a Hanukkah party but does it ever have a "Christmas party"?
Would seem logical since Obama's official religion supposedly is Christian.

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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:34 pm

Where are those jews who always used to argue for separation of church and state around this time of year?

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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:19 pm

How wonderful!!
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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:36 pm

Jacob Gold wrote:
How wonderful!!

These types of events may cost the taxpayers barely 6 figures, not counting the future cost of the deals made.

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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:52 pm

wag wrote:
Where are those jews who always used to argue for separation of church and state around this time of year?

They never said nuthin' bout no separation of church & synagogue. Good to see Obama kicking back with his people & getting a momentary respite from Goyim whining about the economy. Reportedly one of the guests told Obama, "It's such a shame your mother couldn't be here to enjoy the moment".

BTW never thought about it before, but rather convenient that Ms Dunham "died" in '95.
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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:56 pm

EyeBelieve wrote:
wag wrote:
Where are those jews who always used to argue for separation of church and state around this time of year?

They never said nuthin' bout no separation of church & synagogue.  Good to see Obama kicking back with his people & getting a momentary respite from Goyim whining about the economy.  Reportedly one of the guests told Obama, "It's such a shame your mother couldn't be here to enjoy the moment".

BTW never thought about it before, but rather convenient that Ms Dunham "died" in '95.

She might have babbled about "Uncle" Harry?

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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:42 am

Oh, I meant "separation of synagogue & state". But there's not much Separation of Church & Synagogue either.
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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Sat Dec 20, 2014 1:38 am

wag wrote:
"Mr President," [a man standing next to Suissa] said in his booming voice, "when I told my Christian friend I was coming to a Hanukkah party at the White House, he told me, 'I didn't know the president was Jewish!'

"The president let out a serious belly laugh. But in all the commotion of people asking other questions and everyone clicking their smartphone cameras, it was easy to lose sight of the president to see if he had anything to say.

"I kept my eyes straight on him. It was clear that the "president was Jewish" idea had intrigued him. After about three or four seconds, as he was walking away, and looking at no one in particular, the president just said, 'I am, in my soul.' " Twisted Evil

Either the most flagrant step-and-fetchit, or the most ironic crypto, to ever grace the White House.

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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Sat Dec 20, 2014 3:03 am


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Note the rainbow menorah with the pink candle in the center. Inter-tribal nod between visitors and Obamas & cabinet?

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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Sat Dec 20, 2014 2:02 pm

They say Valerie Jarret runs "da show" in "da house"...

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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:20 pm


Presidential Aide Valerie Jarrett Discloses Her Jewish Roots
http://blogs.forward.com/the-shmooze/135922/presidential-aide-valerie-jarrett-discloses-her-je/

Jarrett Keynotes Pentagon’s Gay Pride Event, Touting Obama’s ‘Most Significant Civil-Rights Accomplishment’
http://pjmedia.com/blog/jarrett-keyontes-pentagons-gay-pride-event-touting-obamas-most-significant-civil-rights-accomplishment/

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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:07 pm

Obama's mother was a Jewess
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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:38 pm

Jacob Gold wrote:
Obama's mother was a Jewess

Many signs point that way. Parents Madelyn & Stanley, popular Jewish names. Stan worked in the furniture biz, mama was bank VP in Honolulu.

Ann worked for all sorts of imperialist stuff: "education", AID, Ford Foundation, World Bank & Union Oil. The sort of internationalist career Jews often fond of. Hooking up w/Africans more of a Jewish thing back then, very rare among White women. & actually, the imperialist background would be unsettling even if Ann Dunham was White. Suggests that Obama would have, early on, been on PTB's radar for groomable tools.

& by looks, Ann was fairly Jewy-looking; a bit like younger Ayn Rand. So I would put it ~3-1 that Obama mama be Chosen.


@FJ: Good catch w/rainbow menorah. AFAIK formal menorahs usually have white candles & colored candles more for kids. Obama shoulda had blue & white candles, I hear those popular among the more Zio-ish Jews.
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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Sat Dec 20, 2014 9:09 pm

EyeBelieve wrote:
AFAIK formal menorahs usually have white candles & colored candles more for kids.  Obama shoulda had blue & white candles, I hear those popular among the more Zio-ish Jews.

Did you see two of these hannakah dinners are on the schedule.  Media covers only one of them.  The other, eyes only.

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PostSubject: Re: Who's being served at the White House Hanukkah party?   Sat Dec 20, 2014 11:36 pm

Is it true that Obama began practice of White House Passover Seders? NYT says Obamaberg Seders began even before 2008 election. Channukah just for yuks in re importance to Judaism "religion", Passover's the real deal...you know, what with the awesome # of Goyim babies killed.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/us/politics/28seder.html?_r=0
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