A wooden menorah story
I had a little menorah
I made it out of the White House?
When Joe and Jill Biden hosted a Chanukah party on Monday, they unveiled the first official White House menorah.
In a nod to the holiday’s theme of renewal, it was fashioned by the executive residence carpentry shop from wood that originally was part of the White House building. It was removed during a renovation in 1950.
As the White House’s official account tweeted: “Each detail was carefully crafted by the White House carpenters with wood recovered from the foundation of the White House. Its beauty reminds us of the Hanukkah miracle and the joy it inspired. From this day forward, this menorah is a permanent piece of the People’s House.”
Earlier White House Chanukah candle-lighting ceremonies featured borrowed menorahs.
When President George W. Bush hosted the first White House Chanukah party in 2001, the candles were in a 100-year-old menorah borrowed from New York’s Jewish Museum.
As part of the White House’s holiday display, the menorah has been placed in the Cross Hall (sic), between portraits of Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. Mr. Carter, the first president to mark Chanukah in an official ceremony, lit a Chabad-sponsored menorah in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, in 1979.
Bill Clinton was the first president to light a menorah in the White House in 1993. That ceremony was doubly notable because a young student’s hair briefly caught fire during the lighting.