Mitz-Vote

Potato Latkes with a Side of Politics

By Nathan Guttman

  • Print
  • Share Share

It’s that time of year again, when Jewish politicos go latke-hopping from one Hanukkah event to another, making sure to be seen at the right menorah-lighting events.

And there are many to choose from in the nation’s capital.

First, naturally, comes President Obama’s Hanukkah reception at the White House. This is a tradition handed down from previous administrations which is traditionally a source of anxiety for Jewish insiders who have been checking their inbox for weeks to see if they’re on the list (and for organizers who face a significant amount of noodging from those wishing to get in).

Last year there was a lot of chatter about just how many people the Obamas invited to their reception and whether there were more or fewer than Bush used to invite (more, according to official accounts). This year, however, the White House has not released the numbers, but anxiety levels in the community seem lower, perhaps because most Jewish activists got their chance to get invited to the White House for either the Hanukkah reception or for the Jewish American Heritage Month event in May.

Everyone, however, is invited to attend the lighting of the National Menorah in the Ellipse, just outside the White House and next to the national Christmas tree. President Reagan was first to call it the “national” menorah and the name stuck. Performing at this Chabad-sponsored event will be the U.S. Navy Band and the Three Cantors.

Over on Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida will be throwing the congressional menorah lighting, which will host not only Jewish lawmakers and staffers, but also many of the Jewish activists that are on the White House list as well.

And just so no one misses what the Obama administration has to say about the Festival of Lights, the president’s senior adviser, David Axelrod will, be speaking at the Hanukkah event sponsored by the Israeli embassy in Washington. The event, taking place at the city’s historic Sixth and I synagogue, will feature not only Axelrod and Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, but also Israeli rock star Ivri Lider, all the way from the holy land.

Things to watch for in these and other holiday events:

• Who is invited to the White House reception and which Jewish organizations will be represented more than others?

• Will the congressional candle lighting serve also as a farewell party for some Jewish congressmen who didn’t make it in this recent election cycle? (Senators Arlen Specter and Russ Feingold; Reps. Ron Klein, Paul Hodes, Alan Grayson, Steve Kagen, John Adler.)

• And will the rising star, Va. Rep. Eric Cantor, get to light the menorah? As majority leader-elect, he is, after all, soon to be the senior Jewish congressman on the Hill.

Add to all these events a whole bunch of menorah lighting events taking place at embassies, offices of Jewish organizations and pretty much everywhere else, and it makes for one busy Hanukkah in the nation’s capital.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Eric Cantor, Arlen Spector, Alan Grayson

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.