Each year, the President and the First Lady host their annual celebration of Hanukkah at the White House.
Central to each reception with the President and First Lady is a candle lighting ceremony, where we light a special menorah.
In 2012, we lit a menorah from a synagogue damaged during Hurricane Sandy. The 90-year old menorah survived the storm and brought a story of hope and resilience to the celebration.
In 2013, we lit a menorah from the Jewish Museum in Prague that had been retrieved from a synagogue destroyed during the Holocaust. The story of this nineteenth-century brass menorah is a story of perseverance, having survived during the darkest of periods in Jewish history. And we lit the “Statue of Liberty Menorah” from the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, which tells a story of the Jewish people finding freedom and opportunity in America.
Last year, the menorahs used during the candle-lighting ceremonies came from Israel and were created especially for the occasion. One was created by the Max Rayne Hand in Hand (Yad B’Yad) Bilingual School in Jerusalem and the other by residents of Yemin Orde, an Ethiopian-Israeli youth community in northern Israel. Each brought a unique story about coexistence and diversity in the State of Israel.
This year, we’re trying something new. We’re looking for a special and unique menorah that tells a story to be part of our candle lighting ceremony. A story about family, about community, about the long Jewish cultural tradition in the United States, Israel, or around the world. And we are asking for your help to find it.
Tell us a story about a menorah you know about, why you believe it should be included at the White House Hanukkah receptions, and the best way to get in touch with you or the owners of the menorah to follow up. You also can upload high-resolution photos of the menorah.
We’ll feature some of our favorites on our website, along with the stories behind them. Hopefully, we will find a special menorah or two that we can bring to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In the event your menorah is chosen, here are a few details: We will be unable to cover any costs associated with shipping or insurance. We’ll connect you with the White House Curator’s Office to ensure proper handling of the menorah while it is here at the White House. This opportunity is focused only on identifying the menorahs to be used at the White House Hanukkah receptions and does not guarantee an invitation to the receptions or any part in the program. Please submit your stories and photos below no later than November 20th at 12pm EST.
We look forward to hearing from you! If you have any questions, please direct them to Josh Boxerman at JewishOutreach@who.eop.gov.