By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Avraham Friedman, Executive Director of Chabad of Coral Springs in Florida, was honored with addressing the second Chanukah reception at the White House on Thursday.
President Donald Trump invited Rabbi Friedman whose community is grieving the February 14 shooting at the M.S. Douglas High School in the nearby Parkland.
Rabbi Friedman has been personally guiding the victim’s families, among them the family of 18-year-old student Meadow Pollack. Joining him on stage were her parents Andrew and Julie Phillips Pollack, and brother Hunter Pollack.
Wearing a black fedora, Rabbi Friedman quoted a teaching from the Rebbe about the task of increasing light, a lesson learned from the candle added on each night of the Chanukah holiday.
He said that his father, a survivor of the Holocaust, once commented that when he saw American soldiers entering to liberate the Auschwitz death camp he knew that the horrible darkness and evil had been extinguished.
The rabbi then led the crowd in reading the blessings and lighting the Menorah. The crowd spontaneously responded with singing the traditional song of Maoz Tzur to the visible delight of the president.
The evening reception followed a similar afternoon reception, during both of which the president was applauded for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy there last year.
Guests included hundreds of heads of American Jewish organizations, Jewish members of the administration and Congress, and other prominent American Jews.
As in previous years, the evening included a glatt kosher meal under the strict rabbinical supervision of Rabbi Levi Shemtov of the Lubavitch Center of Washington DC (Chabad) in cooperation with the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington.
The reception has become one of a number of ways the president recognizes the holiday, along with a proclamation/message, and participation by the president or a member of his staff in the lighting of the National Menorah on the National Mall.