Vice President Joe Biden was an honored guest at a special lighting ceremony took place for the National Hanukkah Menorah, the world’s largest, on the Ellipse, just across from the White House on the first night of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
The first candle on the National Menorah was lit on Wednesday, December 16,, 2014 by Rabbi Levi Shemtov, executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) . The United States Army 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 re dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Following the ceremony, those in attendance were treated to hot traditional Hanukkah latkes (potato pancakes), donuts and cookies. Attendance was free, but tickets had to be reserved in advance. The annual event is sponsored by American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad), represented by Rabbi Levi Shemtov and his father Rabbi Abraham Shemtov