Peres family to light heirloom menorah at Obama’s last Hanukkah party

Son and grandson of late president will take part in candle lighting ceremony using menorah that survived Holocaust

President Barack Obama holds up Kylie Schmitter as she, alongside her sister Lainey Schmitter, lights the menorah during the first of two Hanukkah receptions in the White House, on Thursday, December 5, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama holds up Kylie Schmitter as she, alongside her sister Lainey Schmitter, lights the menorah during the first of two Hanukkah receptions in the White House, on Thursday, December 5, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON – Members of Shimon Peres’ family will light candles at President Barack Obama’s final Hanukkah party using a family heirloom menorah.

Chemi Peres, the late Israeli president’s son, and Mika Almog, his granddaughter, will light the candles at the party Wednesday evening, more than a week before the start of the holiday, according to a statement released Monday by the Peres family confirming earlier reports.

The menorah is one preserved during the Holocaust by the Waldens, the family of Peres’ son-in law, and was used for years at family Hanukkah lightings.

“The menorah survived the Holocaust and was carried from Poland, to France, and finally, to Israel by the family of the Ninth President Peres’ son-in-law, Professor Rafi Walden,” said the statement. “The late Ninth President Shimon Peres, who was raised on Jewish values and traditions at the knee of his grandfather, Rabbi Zvi Melzer, lit the Hanukkah candles every year, and made sure that this special menorah held a place of honor in the Walden-Peres family.”

Ex-president Shimon Peres greets US President Barack Obama at a reception held in Obama's honor at Peres's residence in Jerusalem on March 20, 2013. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Ex-president Shimon Peres greets US President Barack Obama at a reception held in Obama’s honor at Peres’s residence in Jerusalem on March 20, 2013. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Peres, who died in September, was the Israeli leader closest to Obama during two terms when he was often at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama awarded Peres the presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 and Peres the year following enthusiastically endorsed Obama’s ultimately failed efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

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