By COLlive reporter
President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their spouses received an enthusiastic welcome when they entered the Chanukah reception at the White House on Thursday afternoon.
A spirited crowd kept cheering the President while he delivered prepared remarks and especially during his candid comments, identifying specific guests at the event.
After introducing a group of 8 Holocaust survivors to the reception, Trump unexpectedly invited them to join him on stage. With many of them in their 90s, Pence was quick to lend a hand to help them up.
Trump went on to pay tribute to the victims of the Shabbos morning massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, explicitly calling it anti-Semitic and denouncing hatred towards Jewish people.
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) who accompanied the survivors later thanked Trump for removing Nazi guard Jakiw Palij from the United States.
“These Holocaust survivors know that we have a President who cares about them, cares about justice, and who will continue to fight for justice and against anti-Semitism,” Hikind privately said.
He called the party “a most remarkable night in the annals of American presidency,” saying that “Holocaust Survivors brought on stage by President Trump and recognized for their incredible courage and dignity.”
It was the first of two Chanukah events held on Thursday at the White House. The annual celebration, hosted by the U.S. President and First Lady to celebrate the Jewish festival of Chanukah, was established in 2001, during the administration of George W. Bush.
The events, which were scheduled for this Wednesday, had been postponed due to the funeral and day of mourning for the late President George H. W. Bush. Trump began his remarks with recognizing the death of Bush.
Guests included hundreds of heads of American Jewish organizations, Jewish members of the administration and Congress, and other prominent American Jews. COLlive Publisher and Editor Mica Soffer and her husband Yossi Soffer traveled from Brooklyn to participate.
Activist Devorah Halberstam and Chanina Sperlin of the CHJCC were in attendance as well.
One of the highlights of the afternoon reception was when Trump mentioned that Chanukah is the first anniversary of the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and moving its embassy there. The crowd responded with appreciative cheers.
Following the ceremony, Chanina Sperlin thanked President Trump for moving the US embassy and for pardoning Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, to which Trump replied that he is familiar with Crown Heights and “it was the right thing to do.”
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.
Video: Crowd at White House Chanukah Party breaks into spontaneous “V’al Hanissim’
thank you President Trump
different presidents but its always the same faces.
The Rebbe MHM is with us ready to be crowned and President Trump will be there👍👍👍👏
The one and only Ben Shapiro. Yea!
with revealed safety and peace in every aspect
Mike Pence has a very eidel face
Random unprovoked attacks on Jews are a federal civil rights issue. The fact that African-Americans are also the victims of shootings 74% of the time makes CH a great place for the federal government to get involved. (African-Americans are the shooting suspects 74% of the time) https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nypd/downloads/pdf/analysis_and_planning/year-end-2017-enforcement-report.pdf
Beautiful, Thank the Almighty for having President Donald John Trump elected, 6 more years , if G-D forbid Moshiach doesn’t arrive, big kiddish Hashem!