U.S. President Donald Trump released a statement wishing Jews a “blessed and happy Hanukkah” in honor of the first of eight lights lit on Sunday night.
“Melania and I send our warmest greetings to our Jewish brothers and sisters in the United States, in Israel and around the world celebrating Hanukkah,” he said.
“For eight nights, Jewish families and friends will come together to engage in the lighting of the menorah. This special tradition started more than 2,000 years ago during the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which followed a trying period when Jews were persecuted for practicing their faith,” he continued.
“Unfortunately, Jews today continue to face many different forms of violence, hatred and bigotry around the globe,” said the president. “We remember all those from the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation, whose lives were tragically taken in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this past October. As one nation, we pledge our continued love and support for the victims, their families and the community, and we pray that the victims’ families find some measure of peace and comfort during this holiday season.”
Trump added that “over the coming days, may the warming glow of each candle on the menorah help fill homes and hearts with love and happiness. Together, we reaffirm the truth that light will always break through the darkness. We send our very best wishes for a blessed and happy Hanukkah.”
The White House was set to host a pair of Hanukkah parties on Dec. 5, but the date was pushed off to Dec. 6 in honor of the mourning of former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away on Nov. 30 at age 94.
The new date means an overlap with the Israel Embassy’s Hanukkah party across town and a bipartisan congressional event for the Jewish holiday later that evening.