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First a Washout, then a Win As Bush Spins Dreidel with Kids

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President Bush played dreidel at the White House on Thursday, first getting a no-decision on “nun” and then winning a pot of chocolates on “gimmel.”

Bush played with students from the Charles E. Smith Day School here as part of the first large-scale Chanukah celebration at the White House.

“From now on in the White House, we will be thinking in terms of a 1,009 points of light,” Bush quipped, after the Synagogue Council of America presented him with a menorah.

The celebration was attended by close to 100 Jewish leaders, administration officials and day school students.

After this year’s main event, a delegation led by Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, Lubavitch’s national director, met with Bush, in keeping with an 11-year-old Chanukah tradition at the White House involving American Friends of Lubavitch.

In addition to presenting him with a menorah, the group videotaped Bush congratulating Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the Lubavitcher rebbe.

Bobbie Greene Kilberg, director of the White House’s public liaison office, said the dreidel-playing event was the president’s idea and that it would be the start of a Bush tradition.

As for the Synagogue Council’s selection as the group presenting the menorah, Gunther Lawrence, its spokesman, said that the White House “wanted to get a representative group” covering a wide spectrum of U.S. Jewry. The group has Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis in its membership.

JTA will not publish a Daily News Bulletin on Monday, Dec. 25, because of the postal holiday in the United States.

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