President Donald Trump and first lady Melania issued a heartfelt greeting to Jewish people around the world as they kick off their eight-day long celebration of Hanukkah.
As IJR previously reported, the first family has been busy celebrating the holiday season, pardoning turkeys on Thanksgiving and lighting the Christmas tree on the National Mall and inside the White House.
Next, the president turned his attention to honor the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, writing over the weekend in a statement from the White House:
“Melania and I send our warmest greetings to our Jewish brothers and sisters in the United States, in Israel, and around the world celebrating Hanukkah.
For eight nights, Jewish families and friends will come together to engage in the lighting of the menorah. This special tradition started more than 2,000 years ago during the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which followed a trying period when Jews were persecuted for practicing their faith.”
Although Hanukkah is a time of celebration, President Trump also acknowledged the hardships Jewish Americans have faced in the last year, including the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that left 11 dead.
President Trump called out the increase in anti-Semitic attacks and pledged his support to the victims’ loved ones:
“Unfortunately, Jews today continue to face many different forms of violence, hatred, and bigotry around the globe. We remember all those from the Tree of Life—Or L’Simcha Congregation—whose lives were tragically taken in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this past October. As one Nation, we pledge our continued love and support for the victims, their families, and the community, and we pray that the victims’ families find some measure of peace and comfort during this holiday season.”
The president concluded his message by wishing everyone a peaceful holiday season, calling for the season to be a light in the sometimes dark world:
“Over the coming days, may the warming glow of each candle on the menorah help fill homes and hearts with love and happiness. Together, we reaffirm the truth that light will always break through the darkness. We send our very best wishes for a blessed and happy Hanukkah.”
Several members of the first family will be celebrating Hanukkah, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and their children.