WASHINGTON (Dec. 3)
About 300 people attended the kindling of the 30-fool menorah in Lafayette Pork opposite the White House yesterday afternoon, making the beginning of the eight-day Chanukah festival. They heard a message from President Carter who referred to “the hard won freedom of modern day Israel” and the denial of freedom to Jews in the Soviet Union.
The menorah lighting ceremony, in its second year, was initiated by Rabbi Abraham Shemtov of Philadelphia, a national director of the American Friends of Lubavitch. He was on hand yesterday to thank White House aide Stuart Eizenstat, who represented the President on the occasion, for his help in bringing the project to fruition. Eizenstat’s son, Brian, 9, kindled the first candle and recited the blessings. Also present were White House Jewish affairs advisor Alfred Moses and Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ephraim Evron who brought greetings from the State of Israel.
Metropolitan Opera tenor Jan Peerce song traditional Hebrew songs. The Kol Chaim band of Washington, a group of Hasidic musicians, played Hebrew and Yiddish melodies. Entertainer Alan King served as master of ceremonies.
In his message, which was read by Eizenstat, Carter observed that “Chanukah was the world’s first celebration of freedom. It reminds us of the hard won freedom of modern day Israel a freedom which must be secure each and every day. Chanukah is a testament to the Jewish people’s continuing belief in righteousness, Justice and God.”
The President added: “We must not forget that there are Jews in the Soviet Union and around the world who are denied the basic human right to kindle a menorah or practice their religion at all.”