WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Biden White House is planning an in-person Hanukkah party for next week.
The Hanukkah party has been a White House tradition since 2001. But the Trump administration’s decision to hold one in person last year, as the coronavirus pandemic raged, turned the normally bipartisan meet-and-mingle into a politically polarized event.
This year, the pandemic is ongoing, and there were concerns about in-person Hanukkah and Christmas events as a result, insiders told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. But the event is set to take place with a menorah lighting at the White House on Dec. 1, with invitations going out Wednesday, just one week before the party. Organizing a party this close to the date of a holiday — Hanukkah starts Sunday night — is unusual for a White House.
President Joe Biden has been attending more in-person events recently that involve mixing with people. This week he and his wife, Jill Biden, attended a Thanksgiving get-together with military families in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.