Dec 4, 2018
National Menorah Lit in DC
Photos: Shimi Kutner

The lighting ceremony of the National Menorah took place on the Ellipse by the White House in Washington, DC with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and 8th Day.

Photos: Shimi Kutner

Thousands of people made their way to The Ellipse, just across from The White House in Washington, DC, to participate in the lighting ceremony of the National Menorah.

The entire program was taken to a whole new level to accommodate the unprecedented interest in the event and prepare to launch the 40th anniversary celebrations next year. An expanded team, headed by Rabbi Menachem Shemtov, assisted by teams of rabbinical students from the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, NJ, worked diligently for weeks to help coordinate the many critical details.

This year's event reached a record amount of people, with tens of millions watching it on nearly 1,000 TV newscasts in all 50 US states and around the world.

In addition to the “Pershing’s Own” United States Army Band, expertly conducted by 1st Lt. Philip D. Tappan, and the Three Cantors - Jeff Nadel (Musical Director), Yaakov Motzen, Zev Muller and Chaim Dovid Berson, the crowd were treated to a pre-event concert by "The 8th Day Band".

Ella Muska (New York Hebrew – New York, NY) and Mussia Poltorak (Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy – New Haven, CT) read their winning entries in the Rabbi Mendy Deren Memorial National Menorah Essay Contest.

They were followed by Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, Executive Chairman of Agudas Chassidei Chabad - the international Chabad-Lubavitch movement, and founder of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) as well as the National Menorah program, who reminded everyone of the message of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of blessed memory, that “just as the challenges we face are enormous, so is the ability we have to over come those challenges.”

The US Army Band played special Chanukah selections, including a really warm welcome for Dreidelman.

United States Interior Secretary, Hon. Ryan K. Zinke, represented and brought greetings on behalf of The President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence and the Administration. Secretary Zinke expressed strong support for the Jewish people, here, in Israel and all over the world, underscoring the continuous struggle to preserve freedom, even in our times. (Secretary Ryan is a former US Navy Seal Commander).

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) and organizer of the event, related how colleagues were organizing well over 15,000 similar events throughout the world, pointing out specifically the participation of German President Frank- Walter Steinmeier in a celebration of Chanukah organized by Rabbi Yehuda Tiechtal and at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, a first such high level participation for the Jewish community there.

Secretary Zinke, Rabbis Abraham Shemtov and Rabbi Levi Shemtov then proceeded to light the National Menorah to the delight of over 3,000 participants.
Many thousands of hot latkes, donuts and free menorah kits and guides were distributed to the crowd after the lighting, and will also be shared with participants at Chanukah celebrations at The US Capitol, The World Bank, The Pentagon, malls, centers, neighborhoods including the Capitol Hill community and the campuses of The George Washington, Georgetown, and American Universities.

Organizers also offered to send a free menorah kit, while supplies last, to anyone who requests one at Since the event, requests for menorahs have come in from across the US, as far away as Alaska.
All in a day's work to create light. Happy Chanukah!

Video Recap:

Video: Full replay (program beings at 30 min)

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Opinions and Comments
8th day rocked
You all sounded the tightest nice job.
(12/2/2018 9:02:53 PM)
Absolutely incredible
My fav band my fav singers! Tremendous energy and customs !
(12/2/2018 10:06:58 PM)
Real kiddish HaShem!!!
Rabbis Shemtov! You are amazing! Bringing lots of nachas to the Rebbe! Keep up your great work!!!!!
(12/3/2018 11:57:55 PM)
I spy the best bochur!
Great job Avremel Silberberg!!
(12/4/2018 11:36:42 AM)
Rabbi Shemtov Kol Hakovod!
Looks like a well organized event filled with inspiration! You make the Rebbe proud!
(12/4/2018 12:56:46 PM)
big Z Schapiro
Rabbi Shemtov excellent job keep up the good work
(12/4/2018 8:12:18 PM)
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