National Menorah Lighting in Washington DC (2011) - jef1000

Jeff Malet Photography

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Rafael Shifren, 10, of Carmel Valley CA reads his winning essay on the meaning of Hanukkah with Rabbi Levi Shemtov of Washington, D.C., at a special lighting ceremony for the National Hanukkah Menorah, on the Ellipse, just across from the White House on the first night of the eight-day Jewish holiday. won the National Menorah Essay Contest. His essay was chosen the best among several thousand entries from Jewish elementary-school students across the country. The theme was "What Hanukkah means to me." The first candle was lit on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 by special guest, Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew. "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band, and "The Three Cantors" performed. The national menorah lighting dates to 1979 when Jimmy Carter was president. Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish Maccabees' military victory over Syrian oppression more than two-thousand years ago. A candle is lit each night of the eight-day celebration, commemorating the miracle of one day's supply of oil lasting a full eight days in the lamp following the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. This annual event is sponsored by American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad). (Photo by Jeff Malet)

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