Hanukkah, Chanukah, National Menorah
Special guest Adam J. Szubin (center), the Treasury Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, helped light the candles atop the 30 foot high National Menorah with the aid of a special elevator. He is flanked by Rabbi Levi Shemtov (left), executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) and Rabbi Abraham Shemtov (right), the organization's national director. Close to 4,000 attended the 2016 National Hanukkah Menorah lighting ceremony on the Ellipse, just across from the White House in Washington D.C. on the second night of the eight-day Jewish holiday on Sunday December 25, 2016. (The official candle lighting took place this year on the second night in deference to the Jewish Sabbath the day before.)
Hanukkah always begins at sunset on the 25th day of the month of Kislev according to the Jewish lunar calendar. This year the Jewish holiday began on Christmas Eve for only the fourth time in the last 100 years.
The National Menorah Lighting dates to 1979 when Jimmy Carter was president. Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish Maccabees' military victory over Greek-Syrian oppression more than 2,000 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 re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. (Photo by Jeff Malet)