Trump hosts first White House Hannukah party

U.S. President Donald Trump hosted his first White House Hannukah party, which included guests such as Rabbi Meir Yaakov Soloveichik, of America's first Jewish congregation. Photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI

Dec. 8 (UPI) — President Donald Trump hosted his first White House Hanukkah party on Thursday night, a day after recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Hundreds of guests attended the party in the East Room of the White House, including the Rabbi of America’s first Jewish congregation and a Holocaust survivor.

“Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families around the world to celebrate the miracles of the past and promises of the future,” Trump said. “We are proud to stand with the people of Israel and to renew our enduring bond.”

Trump officials curtailed the size of the annual Hannukah party, inviting 300 guests to the single event rather than hosting 1,700 over the course of two nights as past administrations had done, leaving Democratic members of Congress off the list, the New York Times reported.

Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Melania Trump, said the selection of guests wasn’t politically motivated.

“I am not aware of the political affiliation of any of the guests, but I do know that this year was meant to be more personal than political,” she said.

During the party, Trump referenced his decision Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Well, I know for a fact there are a lot of happy people in this room,” he said.

Trump introduced Rabbi Meir Yaakov Soloveichik of Congregation Shearith Israel, America’s first Jewish congregation, and presented the first of two special menorahs to be lit at the celebration.

He then introduced Louise Lawrence-Israels, a Holocaust survivor who spent the first three years of her life hiding in an attic in Amsterdam. He then presented a that survived the Tarnow Ghetto in Southern Poland.

“We thank God that a woman who was born into that nightmare of oppression now lives in this land of the free, and that she, along with everyone here tonight, can light the menorah for all the world to see. And the world is watching,” Trump said.


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