National Menorah is Lit for Hanukkah (photos)
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. 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). View all our photos by clicking on the photo icons below.