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Biden’s White House planning a last-minute, in-person Hanukkah party

Menorah lighting event to be held on December 1; invitations went out just a week in advance

Moshe Margareten lights candles at the White House Hanukkah party in 2019. (Screenshot from YouTube via JTA)
Moshe Margareten lights candles at the White House Hanukkah party in 2019. (Screenshot from YouTube via JTA)

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 polarizing event.

This year, the pandemic is still 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 December 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 the White House.

US 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.

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