ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 144

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Biden to host Hanukkah ceremony at White House as antisemitism concerns mount

People attend the Annual National Menorah Lighting at the Ellipse of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 7, 2023. (Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)
People attend the Annual National Menorah Lighting at the Ellipse of the White House in Washington, DC, on December 7, 2023. (Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

US President Joe Biden is hosting a White House reception this evening to mark Hanukkah, celebrating the festival of lights, as he has continued to denounce rising antisemitism in the US and abroad in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

The president, First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will attend the event with nearly 800 guests. Invitees include Holocaust survivors, members of Congress, state and local officials, entertainers, and leaders from across the Jewish religious denominations, the White House says.

A menorah is lit nightly during the eight-day Jewish festival, which this year is being celebrated from December 7 through December 15.

The White House reception will be led by Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, senior rabbi at Central Synagogue in New York City. It will feature menorah lighting by Emhoff and White House staff who are descendants of Holocaust survivors.

Biden plans to talk about how Hanukkah is a timeless story of miracles, and that — even in dark times — we can find the light, the White House says.

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