President Bush lit a menorah that belonged to the great-grandfather of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
Bush was joined Monday in the Grand Foyer of the White House by Jewish leaders and Pearl’s parents, Ruth and Judea, who lit the menorah and recited the blessings for the seventh night of Chanukah. That was followed by a performance by the Zamir Chorale.
“By honoring Daniel, we are given the opportunity to bring forth hope from the darkness of tragedy, and that is a miracle worth celebrating during the Festival of Lights,” the president said.
Bush also recognized Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and his family, who were in attendance during the speech. The president recounted the Chanukah story of the heroic struggle of the Maccabees to overcome religious oppression.
“As we light the Chanukah candles this year, we pray for those who still live under the shadow of tyranny,” Bush said. “This afternoon I met with a group of Jewish immigrants to mark International Human Rights Day. Many of these men and women fled from religious oppression in countries like Iran and Syria and the Soviet Union. They came to America because our nation is a beacon of freedom. And they see a day of hope on the horizon when people all across the world will worship in freedom. The forces of intolerance can suppress the menorah, but they can never extinguish its light.”