Over 3,000 people attended the Dec. 2 National Menorah Lighting on the Ellipse, with the White House in full view. The event featured performances by the United States Army band, The Three Cantors, and the band 8th Day. The Menorah was lit by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. The National Menorah, a project of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), was first lit in 1979. President Donald Trump sent remarks honoring victims of the Pittsburgh shooting. “Jews today continue to face many different forms of violence, hatred, and bigotry around the globe,” he wrote in a statement, adding that the country pledges its “continued love and support” to the victims and their families for the holiday.
In his remarks, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) recognized former Carter and Clinton advisor The Hon. Stuart Eizenstat (who was instrumental in getting the permit for the 1979 lighting, where his son lit the first candle) and former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services The Hon. Tevi Troy. Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, who initiated the menorah lighting in 1979, delivered remarks to the crowd and joined Zinke and Rabbi Levi Shemtov in lighting the menorah.