This event, which enjoyed unusually warm weather as it required a very tight security apparatus due to recent events, was the largest such celebration yet since Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, National Director of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), joined then-president President Jimmy Carter in lighting the menorah in Lafayette Park in 1979.
Presiding over the event in Washington, DC was Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad).
White House Chief of Staff Hon. Denis R. McDonough brought greetings from the President and the Administration, and in his remarks emphasized the relevance of Chanukah’s message in these trying times.
A special performance by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and “The Three Cantors” gave the record crowd an opportunity to enjoy choice Chanukah selections with Dreidelman, of course, dancing along on the specially built three-tiered riser stage.
Award winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari presented a special rendition of Maoz Tzur.
The winning entries in the Rabbi Mendy Deren National Menorah Essay contest were presented by Chaya (Cherry) Citron, 11, and Leah Margolin, 9.
Organizers and many participants said it was the largest crowd ever with thousands of Menorah kits, Chanukah guides – and over ten thousand latkes and donuts – distributed.
PHOTOS: Boruch Ezagui