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Replaying 3-years later: White House's Hanukah gift fortifies Israel & Am Yisrael morale; Local displays recharge pride; Get the mitzvah of contributing

Enjoy a replay of our 2017 story during public gatherings in D.C. and L.A.
National Menorah at The White House Ellipse
President Donald Trump dubbed December 7th evening's White House Hanukah party one that "will go down as especially special" and declared that this year's soiree was "all about Jerusalem." The holiday party came one day after the president's announcement that the U.S. embassy will be moved there from its current location in Tel Aviv. "Well, I know for a fact there are a lot of happy people in this room. (Applause.)  Jerusalem! Thank you! And Melania and I are thrilled to welcome you and so many wonderful friends to the White House. We wish you a very happy Hanukah, and I think this one will go down as especially special." (Applause.) 

Donald J. Trump
"The miracle of Hanukkah is the miracle of Israel. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have endured unthinkable persecution and oppression.
But no force has ever crushed your spirit, and no evil has ever extinguished your faith. And that is why the Jewish people shine as a light to all nations. And right now I’m thinking about what’s going on and the love that's all over Israel and all about Jerusalem. (Applause.)
On behalf of all Americans, I also want to say how grateful I am for Jewish congregations throughout our country. You cherish your families, support your communities, and uplift our beloved country.
Hanukkah is a time for Jewish families around the world to celebrate the miracles of the past and promises of the future. We are proud to stand with the people of Israel and to renew our enduring bond.
This evening, we are blessed to have two very special Hanukkah lamps for this celebration. The menorah on my left has been lit every year since the earliest days of our nation. It comes from the First American Jewish Congregation, whose original members came to this land in the 1650s. That's a long time ago. It’s a symbol of the history and home the Jewish people made in the United States. Today, we are honored to have with us the congregation’s 10th spiritual leader since the American Revolution, Rabbi Soloveichik. (Applause.) That wasn’t bad. You think that's an easy one? It’s not. (Laughter.) Thank you, Rabbi, very much for being with us. Thank you, thank you for being with us. We're also -- but he’s so happy with yesterday, that he doesn't care if I get it exact. (Laughter and applause.) Thank you, Rabbi."

Unlike former Pres. Obama's Hanukah parties, Pres. Donald Trump mentioned G-d and Israel.

Rabbi Yossi Cunin feels that the ubiquity of religious Christmas 
decorations around L.A. makes Jewish families feel alienated 
Beverly Hills Gardens Park has both an illuminated Menorah on the left,
and a Christmas Tree on the right side of the sign
Adults, Mayor Lili Bosse, Mrs. Nechama and Rabbi Yossi Cunin
of Bev Hills Jewish Com'ty Chabad lit a more prominent menorah
which Chabad erected on private land fronting Santa Monica Blvd 

In 1973, the Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe Menachem M. Schneerson began a campaign: Help Jews across America light the menorah on Hanukah. Religious law commands Jews to light the menorah on Hanukkah, preferably in public. In addition to distributing tin candleholders, the organization orchestrated and sponsored menorah lightings in American parks, city halls, and village greens—on government-held land, in other words. By 1979, President Jimmy Carter was participating in a lighting ceremony. . . . 

Today, these giant menorahs are just a part of the American winter landscape. The White House menorah lighting is an annual tradition. No doubt, this public visibility has been one reason why Hanukkah has risen in prominence in American culture. (Source: "Hanukkah, Why?" by Emma Green in The Atlantic Dec 9, 2015)

Great Debates: The Public Menorah’s Legal Battle

In 1996, a federal appeals court ruled that (in 1986) the city of Beverly Hills violated the Constitution by allowing Chabad to erect a menorah in a public park, while prohibiting other groups from displaying their own symbols in the same park.

The suit challenging the city’s action in permitting the menorah display was filed by the local chapter of the American Jewish Congress and four Jewish residents of Beverly Hills, with the Anti-Defamation League filing a friend-of- the-court brief. The two Jewish organizations are opposed to religious displays on public property and have previously tangled with Chabad on the issue.

In 1989, the court said, Beverly Hills had denied one group the right to erect a cross in a park, and prevented another from mounting a winter solstice display.

In 2017, Beverly Hills Jewish Community Chabad supplanted Beverly Hills' city park menorah with other ones in more visible areas.  JooTube asked Mayor Lili Bosse and Rabbi Yosef Cunin's family about it.

Rabbi Yosef Cunin's brother, Rabbi Tsemach Cunin, of Chabad of Century City, (z'tz'l'b) led a public, family celebration at the Westfield Century City Mall, where the band and young daughters were included in the video above.

On December 17, 2017 Chabad of The (San Fernando) Valley held it's 16th annual Chanukah Concert at Universal CityWalk. Surprise guest stars, Eighth Day, peformed their hit "Miracle of Light" (introduced by Meir Kay) who jumped into the mosh-pit with students from the Jewish Educational Trade School, a technical, vocational high-school and college in Granada Hills, California.

For the final night's menorah lighting, Rabbi Yosef and Nechama Cunin welcomed her British WWI veteran grandfather, Mark Braham, 96, to light the large, electric-light menorah on private property for people passing-by a popular intersection on Sunset Boulevard. Mr. Braham is escorted by grandson-in-law Rabbi Yossi Cunin and great-grandson Tuvia, age 5.

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