Jewish guys? In DC this week, we got ’em — if you want ’em


The White House Party has gotten the most attention, but it wasn’t the only Chanukah action in town — far from it.

The force behind much of this week’s action was Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who directs American Friends of Lubavitch.

The major Chabad event was the lighting of the national menorah on Sunday, with Rahm Emanuel’s famous flight into the heavens. (How often does Rahm get a Muhammad allusion? And at Chanukah?)

Aside from organizing the White House hechsher, Shemtov also ran events for women, kids and university students at his headquarters and at George Washington University — as well as a congressional and a Pentagon lighting.

The Chabad event on Tuesday evening on the Hill — formally under the aegis of the "Capitol Jewish Forum" — benefited from motivation — a dozen or so Jewish lawmakers who had just voted to enhance sanctions against Iran were raring to speechify about Jewish survival. Voting on the bill ended at 5:30, and the candle lighting was scheduled for 5:40 in the Capitol’s august Mansifield Room.

Lubavitch also organized a Pentagon lighting on Wednesday, just before the White House party. Headlining the Pentagon event was Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force Chief of Staff, who spoke of how proud his dad would have been to see him at an event joining his military career and his Jewish upbringing. Defense attaches for the Israeli, Moroccan and Bahraini embassies posed for photos with Schwartz.

There was a lot of shuttling: on Wednesday, for instance, the Pentagon lighting was at 3 pm,. the White House party started at 4:30, a Library of Congress event hosted by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the Library of Congress was at 6, and the Indian embassy held its annual Chanukah party (featuring the best fare) at 6:30. And a substantial percentage of attendees made each event (which gives you an idea of how boring this can get.)

Making things less boring at Tuesday’s event at the Israeli embassy was Ambassador Michael Oren’s lighthearted patter — he alleviated Rabbi Jeffrey Wohlberg’s very serious sermon about Jewish assimilation with a warning about the latkes that began: "What the Greeks and Romans couldn’t do to the Jews…" And he was right. An ambassador honest about his catering! It almost makes up for the Ben Affleck thing.

The line of the week, though, came during Chanukah Happy Hour on the Hill on Sunday night, the event organized by the young adult affiliates of a number of Jewish groups (here’s a list).

The event packed three floors at Pour House, a popular Hill waterhole. One young lady was overheard giving an eager guy the worst brushoff ever, considering the venue:

I don’t really like Jewish guys.

And speaking of Jewish guys: from the Capitol Jewish Forum event, l-r: Rabbi Levi Shemtov; Jerry Silverman, president and CEO, The Jewish Federations of North America; Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.); Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.); Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.); Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.)

And Gen. Norton Schwartz, U.S. Air Force chief of staff:

Both photos, courtesy American Friends of Lubavitch

Tonight the cap, the party to end them all, takes place at the world headquarters of PR magnates Steve Rabinowitz and Matt Dorf. Reporting later, if we get out alive.

Recommended from JTA