It’s hard to not stumble upon a Chanukah event this week in Washington. Last night, the White House, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) and the Indian ambassador all held Chanukah events in the capital. This morning, there was another official menorah lighting in the U.S. Capitol, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and his Nevada colleague Sen. John Ensign (R), joined Rabbi Chaim Cunin and the West Coast Chabad Lubavitch to light a menorah (and Reid even did a few seconds of dancing to Hava Nagila.)
Cunin noted that with the debate over health care reform and all the other business the Senate is involved in this week, "for our elected officials to take such time and attention" for Chanukah was "really beautiful."
UPDATE: “Nevada has one of the fastest growing Jewish populations in the country,” said Senator Reid in a press release. “I am so pleased to welcome the rabbis and thank them for bringing with them the joy and light of the holiday season. Their prayers are a reminder to us of the hope we have, even in the darkness of difficult economic times.”
“Hanukah speaks to the values long held by Jews and by Americans—faith and freedom of religion. It is also the ultimate story of light prevailing over dark. In this sometimes ‘dark’ atmosphere of Washington, D.C., the light of the menorah is welcomed and cherished,” Ensign said.
After the jump, the West Coast Chabad Lubavitch press release:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took time from his busy schedule this morning to light a special Chanukah Menorah with Rabbi Cunin and a West Coast Chabad Lubavitch Nevada delegation. US Senator John Ensign joined the lighting ceremony, which was the highlight of a Chanukah reception held at a breakfast in the Lyndon B. Johnson room in the US Capitol.
The Menorah, a symbol of light, hope and freedom, was presented with blessings to Senator Reid and the people of Nevada, inscribed with a quote from the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, that reads “The tallest candle on the menorah is the one that serves to kindle others.”
Senator Reid talked about the theme of Chanukah, and its message of hope and illumination. He thanked Chabad for the Menorah and for its public service in the community. Chabad’s delegation included Rabbi Chaim N. Cunin, Rabbi Yosef Cunin, and Rabbi Menachem Mendel Cunin of Reno, Nevada.
West Coast Chabad Lubavitch is a community-based nonprofit organization offering programs to help the needy regardless of background or belief. Chabad runs the largest network of educational and nonsectarian social services under Jewish auspices in Nevada and California.