The President. Good evening, everybody.
Audience members. Good evening.
The President. Well, thank you for coming to the White House tonight to celebrate the sixth night of Hanukkah. It is truly an honor to host so many leaders from the Jewish community this evening. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is here. And obviously, I know I speak for all of us when we say that America's support for our friend and ally Israel remains unshakeable during these difficult times.
Many Members of Congress and local government are here, and we want to welcome you. We are graced by two Supreme Court Justices, several members of my Cabinet and administration, so, everybody, be on your best behavior. [Laughter]
I want to thank the incredibly talented members of the West Point Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir for their service. They are incredible young people. Obviously, we're in awe of their service to our Nation and for sharing a couple of Hanukkah favorites with the Marine Band.
And finally, I'd like to recognize the rabbis and lay leaders who traveled from all over the country to be here. Thank you for sharing the holiday with us. We're grateful.
So tonight, as we gather to light the sixth candle of Hanukkah, we remember an enduring story of resilience and optimism. Over 2,000 years ago, a tyrant forbade the Israelites from practicing their religion, and his forces desecrated the holy temple. So Judah Maccabee gathered a small band of believers to fight this oppression, and against all odds, they prevailed. The Maccabees liberated Jerusalem and restored the faith of its people. And when they went to reclaim the temple, the people of Jerusalem received another gift from God: The oil that should have lasted only 1 night burned for 8. That miraculous flame brought hope, and it sustained the faithful.
To this day, Jews around the world honor the Maccabees' everlasting hope that light will overcome the darkness, that goodness will overcome evil, and that faith can accomplish miracles.
The menorah that we're using tonight and the man who will light it are both powerful symbols of that spirit. Six weeks ago, the Temple Israel Synagogue in Long Beach, New York, was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. But this 90-year-old menorah survived, and I am willing to bet it will survive another 90 years and another 90 years after that. So tonight it shines as a symbol of perseverance and as a reminder of those who are still recovering from Sandy's destruction: a reminder of resilience and hope and the fact that we will be there for them as they recover.
So I want to thank Rabbi David Bauman for sharing your congregation's blessed menorah with us. We pray that its light will carry victims of Sandy and all Americans to a brighter tomorrow. And we're confident that it will.
And we're confident that it will, because for centuries, the menorah has served as a source of inspiration and courage for all those dreaming of a better future, and Rabbi Larry Bazer knows that as well as anybody.
Now, we had hoped that Rabbi would join us to light the candles last year, but he wasn't able to make it. We don't get that very often. Usually, when we invite people, they come. [Laughter] But we gave him another chance because he had a pretty good excuse the first time.
Last Hanukkah, Rabbi Bazer—and he happens to be the Joint Forces Chaplain for the Massachusetts National Guard—was 4 months into his deployment in Afg ...
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