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!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • 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.