Dreidelman makes an appearance before thousands in attendance at the 2017 National Hanukkah Menorah lighting ceremony on the Ellipse, just across from the White House in Washington D.C. on the first night of the eight-day Jewish holiday on Tuesday December 12, 2017. The dreidel is a spinning top whose letters stand for the first Hebrew letters of the words "a great miracle happened there." Top White House economic advisor Gary Cohn helped light the candles atop the 30 foot high menorah with the aid of a special elevator.
Hanukkah always begins at sunset on the 25th day of the month of Kislev according to the Jewish lunar calendar. 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)