White House seeks menorahs with stories for this year’s Hanukkah party


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House is looking for menorahs with unique stories for its Hanukkah celebration this year.

Matt Nosanchuk, the White House liaison to the Jewish community, on Nov. 11 posted an entry on the White House website soliciting ideas for menorahs, noting it was the first time that the White House was issuing such an appeal.

“We’re looking for a special and unique menorah that tells a story to be part of our candle lighting ceremony,” Nosanchuk wrote. “A story about family, about community, about the long Jewish cultural tradition in the United States, Israel, or around the world.”

The deadline is Nov. 20, and the White House will not cover transport or insurance, and contributing the menorah does not guarantee an invitation to the party. Menorahs not used at the celebration may nonetheless feature on the White House website.

President George W. Bush launched the first formal government Hanukkah celebrations, although President Bill Clinton’s White House ran Hanukkah parties for Jewish staff and some invitees.

In recent years, the Obama administrations have used menorahs from a synagogue damaged by Hurricane Sandy, in 2012, and made by students at a Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem targeted by vandals, in 2014.

The White House has not yet announced the date of this year’s White House receptions; in recent years the White House has hosted two on the same day to accommodate more guests.

Hanukkah starts this year on Dec. 6.

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