By COLlive reporter and Politico
U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, hosted their first Chanukah party at the White House Wednesday.
High-ranking members and officials of the Jewish community participated in the celebration that spilled from the State Room to the East Room.
Obama made brief remarks at the reception—one of many holiday parties in recent weeks— and then greeted guests for 20 minutes before leaving, attendees said.
COLlive.com has learned that among them were Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, Chairman of the Agudas Chasidei Chabad umbrella group and his son, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Washington Director of American Friends of Lubavitch.
The junior Shemtov is once again overseeing the process of making the White House kitchen kosher for the party in cooperation with the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington.
Another Lubavitcher in attendance was Chanina Sperlin, Vice Chairman of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, who is close to Democratic politicians in New York.
At the reception, an a cappella choir from the University of Maryland sang Hebrew songs and the children of a Navy commander based in Iraq lit the Menorah.
The White House served a buffet including lamb chops, sushi and even oily Latkes, all ordered from a kosher catering company.
Who else was there?
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), the man at the heart of the ongoing health care debate, as well as Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Al Franken, (D-Minn.). Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) were also in attendance.
Administration officials David Axelrod, Desiree Rogers, Susan Sher, Tina Tchen, Jack Lew, Peter Orszag, Dan Shapiro, Stuart Levey and Eric Lesser also attended the party.
The party has been overtaken by feverish debate over the size of the guest list, the invitations and what this says (or does not say) about Obama’s relationship with Jews, the New York Times reported.